President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to collaborate with other agencies within the multi-agency framework to fight illicit trade and ensure that no single cent of revenue is lost through tax evasion.
The President emphasized that paying taxes enables Kenyans to take ownership of the country’s governance and actualization of shared development aspirations.
“I must emphasize that to achieve the better Kenya we desire, we must all be ready and willing to reciprocate by paying our tax dues and on time.
“Each eligible taxpayer must realise that paying their fair share of taxes is not only an obligation but it is a demonstration of patriotism,” the President said.
Uhuru spoke in Nairobi on Friday when he presided over the 2021 National Taxpayers’ Day where he saluted all the taxpayers who discharged their civic duty by promptly paying their rightful tax dues.
During the event, Safaricom received an award for being the overall top large taxpayer while the medium top taxpayer award went to Premier Credit Limited.
While congratulating the individuals and corporates that received awards for exemplary tax compliance, the President urged other taxpayers to follow their example by promptly paying their rightful share of tax, filing returns diligently and shunning evasive tactics which undermine the country’s ability to fund its development.
He also encouraged all those who owe taxes from previous periods to demonstrate their patriotism by honouring their obligation.
“I urge you to take advantage of the ongoing Voluntary Tax Disclosure Programme and benefit from the full waiver of interest and penalties. I am informed, so far, over 393 taxpayers have applied and through this initiative, Kshs 2 billion have been collected,” Uhuru said.
At the same time, the President reiterated his Administration’s is focused on building back better as outlined in the Budget Statement delivered in June 2021, noting that improved revenue collection is an integral part of the strategy for building back better.
“Towards this end, the Government will spare no effort in facilitating tax reforms geared at mobilizing revenues for inclusive national development. In that regard, all government agencies are directed to fully support KRA’s operating mission as outlined in its 8th Corporate Plan,” Uhuru said.
The KRA Corporate Plan focuses on revenue mobilization through tax simplification, technology-driven compliance and tax base expansion.
The President expressed satisfaction that during his term in office ordinary revenue has more than doubled, rising from Kshs 707 billion in the 2011/12 financial year to Kshs 1.669 trillion in the 2020/21 period, representing a 136 percent growth despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What is even more encouraging is to note that at Kshs 1.669 trillion in FY 2020/21, KRA defied all odds and surpassed its target with a surplus of Kshs 16.8 billion; representing a revenue growth of 3.9 compared with the previous Financial Year,” the President said.
The Head of State assured that the Government will continue to implement comprehensive and dynamic measures to ease regulatory compliance burdens and make it easier to start and operate businesses in Kenya while supporting the youth, women and persons living with disabilities through preferential access to public procurement opportunities.
“Further, the Government will continue to avail both the supporting infrastructure as well as a stable operating environment that are prerequisites to sustained expansion of investment and by extension strong economic growth,” he said.
The President emphasized that the relationship between the taxpayer and the KRA must be one of mutual respect, continuous engagement and fidelity to the law.
Speaking during the event, KRA Chairman Francis Muthaura said the tax body is keen on transforming from an authority to a service to make it more friendly to the taxpayer.
“We do not want to be collecting revenue using a hammer; we want to collect taxes through facilitation and that is why this month is dedicated to the promotion of that good relationship between KRA and the taxpayers,” Dr Muthaura said.
Dr Muthaura reassured that KRA will remain committed to ensuring the country achieves its socio-economic development goals by effectively playing its role of mobilizing revenue for the Government.
National Treasury CS Ukur Yattani said the country has witnessed positive signs of economic recovery beginning with improved revenue performance for the last four years, adding that his ministry will sustain this positive trajectory to enable the Government to meet its development priorities.