Big data, AI part of KRA's new game plan in hitting Sh3tn target

KRA is expected to collect Sh2.77 trillion in the current financial year.

In Summary

•Mulongo said the authority will capitalise on big data analytics and artificial intelligence to drive the revenue collection agenda, while simplifying the tax regime.

•KRA is expected to collect more than Sh3 trillion by financial year 2024/2025.

KRA staff assist members of the public to file tax returns at a support centre.
KRA staff assist members of the public to file tax returns at a support centre.
Image: FILE

KRA’s new chief plans to advance the use of technology in plugging revenue collection gaps and drive growth, in an ambitious plan to hit the Sh3 trillion target in the medium-term.

Commissioner General Humphrey Mulongo who was appointed on Tuesday was sworn into office yesterday.

This ends about six months of waiting for a substantial boss after the exit of former Commissioner General Githii Mburu in February.

Commissioner of Domestic Taxes, Rispah Simiyu, held the office in an acting capacity.

Speaking at the Supreme Court after being sworn-in,  Mulongo said KRA will capitalise on big data analytics and artificial intelligence to drive its the revenue collection, while simplifying the tax regime.

Big data analytics is the process of uncovering trends, patterns, and correlations in large amounts of raw data to help make data-informed decisions.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the use of machine  intelligence or software in solving problems.

“Ours is it to see how we are going to harness these advancements in technology so that we can drive compliance, facilitate enforcement, increase the tax base and ultimately reach the targets,” Mulongo said.

While KRA has been automating its systems over time, Mulongo faces an uphill task in sealing loopholes that have in the past led to revenue leaks.

KRA missed its ordinary revenue collection target for the financial year 2022/23 ended June 30. It collected Sh2.04 trillion, against a target of Sh2.14 trillion hence a Sh104.3 billion short-fall.

For the current financial year which runs form July 1, 2023  to June 30, 2024, KRA has a Sh2.768 trillion target.

This is expected to go above Sh3 trillion by financial year 2024/2025.

“There is a lot of expectations,” KRA chairman Anthony Mwaura noted, even as he affirmed the targets are achievable.

Among sectors Mulongo is expected to lead KRA in sealing leaks and increasing collections is the betting and gaming industry, where it has integrated its systems with the companies.

This is to maximise on excise duty on betting and withholding tax on winnings.

The use of cargo clearance technology has also helped the taxman plug revenue collection gaps at the borders, in the wake of President William Ruto’s tough talks on sealing leakages.

Stringent border control measures between Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia have led to a decline in tax evasion, increasing revenue collection in Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale, Mombasa, Tana River and Taita Taveta.

Mulongo is also expected to lead KRA, in partnership with other government agencies, in taming revenue losses in the Exercise Goods Management System mainly in the alcoholic beverages and tobacco industry.

It is estimated that illicit trade denies the taxman up to Sh153.1 billion in potential revenue annually.

KRA remains critical in raising revenues to fund Ruto’s Sh3.6 trillion budget at a time the country’s debt having crossed the Sh10 trillion mark.

This, amid a huge recurrent expenditure and development plans that will force the government borrow more in case of revenue shortfalls.

The current financial year has a Sh718 billion deficit to be financed through borrowing.

Mulongo assured the business community of predictability in the tax regime, going by the government’s plans to put in place a National Tax Policy which roots for long-term regulations.

“Long-term polices are going to be in place for predictability and enable businesses understand what is expected of them from an obligation stand point in the medium-term,” he said.

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