Inside governor’s strategy to triple Kiambu tax collection

Thursday, October 27th, 2022 04:00 | By
Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi. PD/file

Confronted by the daunting task of financing his vision, Governor Kimani Wamatangi has initiated a raft of far-reaching reforms on revenue collection in Kiambu.

He is seeking to triple the county’s own source revenue collection from the current Sh2.5 billion annually to at least Sh7 billion out of the possible Sh11.3 billion in the next one year.

This amount is expected to supplement the county’s possible allocation of Sh11.7 billion from the equitable share distributed by Treasury to counties.

The governor has embarked on embracing a cashless payment system and already floated a tender for provision of a revenue management system as part of his effort to tame leakages, cover all available revenue streams and embrace innovation.

This, he says, will help his administration explore new tax areas, which will ensure he realises his  targets without increasing fees and levies.

“We are undertaking revenue enhancement policies and measures and instituting revenue reforms. Already, a taskforce on revenue collection enhancement has been appointed and is expected to give a report and recommendation within 90 days,” he told People Daily yesterday.

“Kiambu has a capacity to collect Sh12 billion in its own revenue source. After I checked records, I found out that in the last Financial Year, only Sh2.5 billion was collected. Where did the Sh10 billion go? My election marked the death of theft and wastage in the county of Kiambu,” Wamatangi said in an interview yesterday.

Since he was sworn in, Wamatangi has commissioned a long list of audits, with emphasis on revenue collection and expenditure, which according to sources, have revealed theft and wastage that has denied the county the chance to develop despite operating with a budget of approximately Sh130 billion since the advent of devolution.

Smart towns

 Governor has earmarked a wide range of multi-million initiatives to give the county a major facelift, among them turning 10 towns into well-organised smart towns within one year. 

He has initiated the process of having Thika town, the biggest in the county elevated to a city and also turned into an industrial park.

“We want Thika to be an industrial city park. We have already started, and as of now, we have a committee (to undertake the task), and have made a request to the National government, and gotten the procedure that we should follow. I had already sent a request to the Senate about the intention. We are also engaging stakeholders such as the roads agencies, which have already down roads designs on how to ease traffic in the town,”

Further county boss has plans to increase an existing Sh130 million revolving fund to Sh1 billion to finance start-ups and boost existing small and medium enterprises. Wamatangi has also set his sights on construction of 400 modern nursery classrooms, refurbishment and equipping of health facilities, rehabilitation of roads, boosting water infrastructure, starting agro-processing plants and agriculture subsidies.

County boss knows some of the interventions he has earmarked will rattle some quarters, but says tough decisions that have long-term gains must be made.

“Leadership is hard and you will be required sometimes to make difficult decisions that may not be popular at the moment, but when reflected up in the long-term, people will be able to say, yes, you made a good decision,” Wamatangi said.

Wamatangi said works on proposals to seek more spaces to expand the towns, particularly Kiambu, which has been grappling with congestion and stagnated growth, are underway and will be forwarded to the Assembly for consideration.

Besides reclaiming grabbed land and acquire spaces in outskirts of major towns to facilitate expansion, Wamatangi said proposals to incentify investors in various sectors, even in areas that have in the past been shunned due to poor infrastructure such as Thika East, parts of Limuru and Kikuyu, are also being drafted for legislation by Assembly.  

“In Thika, we have 635 acres that were ceded by Delmote, we will, with the assistance of the Assembly, develop a framework on how to utilise the land,” he said..

Governor is also keen on attracting investors through incentives and rebates as well as opening up areas that have been avoided by real estate developers, manufactures and other trades. This, he noted,  will create job opportunities and increase revenue base.

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