SPEECHES 01/10/2018

Ladies & Gentlemen

I am pleased to welcome you to the launch of the 2018 Taxpayers Month activities. The hosting of the annual Taxpayers Month is meant to celebrate the taxpaying public. who contribute towards our country's development agenda.

The month is celebrated through a series of activities which include the hosting of a Customer Service Week, visits to selected taxpayers, a schools tax competition, various CSR events and the climax being the Taxpayers Luncheon to be hosted towards the end of the month.

During the month, we aim to launch key initiatives geared towards improving customer service delivery including the introduction of scanners at the JKIA passenger arrivals terminal and the commissioning of our Scanner Command and Control Centre located on the 13% floor of Times Tower. The introduction of passenger baggage scanning at JKIA is an important milestone that will greatly help in addressing customer concerns about previous haphazard stripping of passenger personal effects. A similar approach is being adopted at key passenger entry points including at Moi Airport in Mombasa and also at key border entry points including Namanga, Busia and Malaba. By introducing scanning technology, we hope to improve both Customs detection capacity but in addition remove inconveniences for arriving passengers.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

KRA has in the past three years placed great emphasis on improving relationships with taxpayers through business process reforms and the introduction of modern technology. Among the key process reforms we have undertaken include the re-configuring or our tax compliance and audit process so as to anchor these on risk profiles and data analysis. This approach, commonly internally referred to as Data Driven Compliance is meant not only to help us optimize our compliance and audit interventions but in addition to assure objectivity in our engagements with taxpayers. In doing so, we aim to remove perennial complaints from taxpayers about unfairness and bias in audit selection.

Apart from this, we have also restructured our tax dispute resolution processes so as provide transparency in the resolution of disputes. In this regard, our revamped Tax Dispute Resolution programme will provide taxpayers with a credible, transparent and customer friendly process that removes perception about unfairness and underhand dealings in the resolution of tax disputes. Moreover, the new framework will also provide standardization in the approach to dispute resolution besides ensuring speedy resolution. Through this programme, we aim to substantially reduce the number of tax disputes finding their way into the judicial system with the ultimate goal being to resolve at least 80% of tax disputes internally.

Besides process changes, we have also through technology investments sought to provide taxpayers with easy mechanisms for tax payment and accessing KRA services. Our iTax system which is now in its 4th year has eliminated major bottlenecks that taxpayers used to endure while interacting with KRA. We are also in the process of rolling out the Integrated Customs Management System, through which we expect to provide much improved services for those involved in cross-border trade. Besides improved taxpayer service delivery, both systems also enable KRA fo more effectively manage interactions with taxpayers through the wealth of data the systems deliver, and which data facilitates better control over taxpayer compliance activities.

Among the other key technology solutions we have deployed is our new Customer Relationship Management platform, which has made with taxpayers a lot easier and productive.Through this platform, we are now able to reach out to large numbers of taxpayers to appraise them of key events including tax filing dates. During the last income tax filing season for example, we sent 5 million emails with 75% successful delivery rate. The CRM platform when complimented by our Contact Centre facility has also enabled us to interact with an average of 40,000 phone callers per month and 95,000 monthly interactions through social media.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

These investments besides helping improve customer experience are core to our Revenue Enhancement Strategy, among whose key pillar is the Expansion of the Tax Base. The Tax Base Expansion strategy or TBE focusses on tapping into the potential provided by technology to identify and bring into the tax net, Kenyans who are engaged in painful business and who ought to be paying tax but are not. The TBE strategy targets to acquire information for tax base expansion purposes through access to key databases in both the private and public sectors. Data obtained in this manner is thereafter utilized to assess the compliance status of the taxpayers identified, with appropriate action then being taken to assure their compliance. Some of databases we have targeted in the first stages include those on mobile payments and those maintained by regulatory and professional bodies. We are also sourcing data from major private players including key public infrastructure contractors and hospitality service providers including major hospitals. By applying this strategy, we anticipate net an extra new 500,000 taxpayers from whom we expect to collect approximately Sh.60 billion in the current year.

Ladies & Gentlemen

The various changes that we have implemented can only succeed if those entrusted with implementation perform their roles as expected. A key pillar in our ongoing programmes therefore is the drive to transform the way our staff work. We are doing this by helping staff appreciate the changes that have taken or are taking place, assisting them fit into new/emerging roles and equipping them with skills necessary to adjust to changing needs. This drive is captured through our organizational Transformation Programme, commonly referred to internally as the Transformation Agenda or TA. We have been running with our TA programme for the last 20 months and have during that period, been able to deliver the message to most staff about the change that is happening. We have also set an elaborate support framework that helps staff understand the basic tenets of the TA, what it is and what it is not. This last observation is important because initially there was apprehension that the TA was about retrenchment. We have since been able to communicate and get staff to appreciate that TA is about adjusting to change and finding the best ways through which fit into and exploit the change.

Ladies & Gentlemen,

I wish to conclude by thanking all our taxpaying public for their continued dedication towards our country by paying their rightful share of tax. I also wish to thank the Cabinet Secretary and his team for the valuable support we continue to receive from The National Treasury. Finally, I wish to very sincerely thank Team KRA for the great dedication you have shown in continuing to resolve the challenges that confront us daily in our quest to enhance revenue collection. Let us continue with this spirit, knowing that our collective will is greater than the current challenges and that persistence will ultimately deliver the promise that Kenyans yearn for.

Finally, I wish you all a successful and fruitful Taxpayers month 2018.

J.K. Njiraini, CBS