• Revenue collection expected to improve after the MoU.
• MoU to also promote proactive and responsible citizenship for service delivery.
Revenue collection in Meru is expected to improve after the UN-Habitat signed an MoU with Governor Kiraitu Murungi to support the county's My Town, My Business initiative.
This comes at a crucial time when the county government is under pressure to increase its own-source revenue.
The MoU, signed at the UN-Habitat headquarters in Gigiri, is intended to promote proactive and responsible citizenship for service delivery.
The initiative will be implemented by the Urban Economy and Finance branch at UN-Habitat.
The UEF works globally on municipal finance, local economic development and youth. It will launch similar projects in other Kenyan counties.
UN-Habitat Africa director Naison Mutizwa-Mangiza and UEF coordinator Marco Kamiya were co-signatories.
The funding is by the Swedish Development Agency (Sida).
Kiraitu said increasing the county's own-source revenue will require the government to showcase, more directly, how taxes are used for improved service delivery and for citizens to take ownership of their surroundings.
The governor said the deal will enhance effectiveness in revenue collection, develop markets and towns and improve the livelihoods of residents.
Meru receives one of the lowest per capita contributions from the central government. While own-source revenue can help to fill this gap, the county government struggles to reach its own targets. In the financial year 2016-17 for instance, it only collected USD 5.53 million of the targeted USD 7.73 million.
"With a yearly pro capita tax revenue of USD 4.07 million (2016-17), Meru is eager to collaborate with UN-Habitat and benefit from its global expertise to increase the resources it has available to invest in its development," UN-Habitat said in a statement.
The project foresees UN-Habitat providing a team of municipal finance experts to analyse the tax design and collection processes of the county. The team will also come up with comprehensive and actionable recommendations for quick improvements in revenue.
“The insights which emerge from this collaboration will then be used to inform the My Town, My Business initiative and transform it into a flagship programme for replication in other parts of Kenya,” the statement reads.
Edited by R.Wamochie