(Xinhua) -- Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said on
Wednesday the country needs policy and legal reforms to boost
Kenyatta told a tax forum in Nairobi that whereas commendable
strides have been made to improve the tax environment for
individuals and business, more reforms needs to be done in both tax
policy and tax administration.
“Treasury must consistently review tax policy and propose
legislation to rationalize areas of duplication to simplify
compliance at all levels and also encourage self declaration and
make it all easier for all Kenyans to willingly pay taxes using the
most convenient tools at their disposal,” Kenyatta said during the
taxpayers’ day event, which is organized every year to honor
The highlight of the event was the launch of the Kenya Revenue
Authority (KRA) Integrated Scanner Command and Control Center, a
web-based solution that integrates all KRA scanners with the aim of
monitoring their operations.
The center will create synergy in image analysis, thereby improve
non-intrusive inspection of cargo, and boost trade facilitation.
Kenyatta said that over the past few years, the impressive growth in
the gross domestic product (GDP) has outstripped the growth of the
tax base and as a result it tend to fall upon on few citizens to
carry the burden of many.
He noted that the government has taken steps to widen the tax base
by implementing more broad based taxes as a means to bring more
Kenyans into the tax net.
“But the reforms are far from enough to sustain our national
aspirations,” he added.
The Kenyan leader said that the tax regime should support the
aspirations of the “Big Four” agenda of affordable housing,
universal healthcare, manufacturing and food security, and should be
aligned to mobilize investment, both domestic and foreign.
The tax laws must also reflect the seriousness of tax collection and
the consequences of default, Kenyatta said.
There should be no room for tax evaders to thrive in Kenya, and that
criminal cartels like those who smuggle imported taxable goods
through the points of entry should be easily detected and contained
in the shortest possible time.
He directed the KRA to incorporate technology in its operations and
use big data to predict revenue trends and detect leakages.
Traders who operate fake electronic tax registers should also be
prosecuted for contravening the law, the president said.
He said high net worth individuals whose lifestyles are not
reflective of the taxes that they pay ought to be compelled to
demonstrate the sources of their wealth.
Henry Rotich, cabinet secretary in the national treasury, said that
the selflessness and hard work of patriotic taxpayers has enabled
Kenyans to fund its development programs.
Government efforts to enlist more tax payers is bearing fruit as
more Kenyans are embracing voluntary tax compliance by enrolling
into the iTax platform, Rotich said.
The KRA is collaborating with the ministry of education to ensure
that a “tax culture” is entrenched in the value system of children,