Counties go Tech in a Bid to Reach the Coveted Kshs. 50 Billion Target
County governments have targeted to reach a total of Ksh.56, 607, 648, 333 mark, based on the County Governments Budget Implementation Review Report, First Quarter FY 2015/16. With automation of revenue collection system, there will be better financial management, transparency and accountability. Strathmore University Consortium has been at the forefront in the installation of an Online Revenue Collection System dubbed County Pro. Strathmore University, @iLabAfrica through its consulting unit Strathmore Research and Consultancy Centre (SRCC), has formed a consortium of top technology companies (Namu and iPay Limited) in the implementation of a consolidated end-to-end County Operations Management and Revenue Collections solution.
In the last one year, counties have been upgrading their systems to automated revenue collection systems. CountyPro has been implemented in the following counties: County Government of Kiambu, County Government of Taita Taveta and County Government of Busia. CountyPro system is also currently being piloted by County Government of Lamu.
The CountyPro implementation has had good positive impacts as seen in Kiambu County. According to the Budget Implementation Review Report 2014/2015, Kiambu topped in revenue collection among the counties in Central Kenya. In a separate report released last year by the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) led by Micah Cheserem, Kiambu County is among the top five counties that have increased their revenue collection exceedingly.
Kiambu County managed to collect Kshs. 2.1 billion in the year 2014/2015 against a set national target by the controller of budget of Kshs. 718 million. This was estimated by Commission on Revenue Allocation to be a 60% jump in revenue collected as a result of automating their revenue collection process and enhanced revenue collection enforcement strategies.
Kiambu officials have given positive reviews of the system. Kiambu County Governor Hon. William Kabogo during the launch of Kiambu Digitika said, Automation of revenue collection was simply adopted by the county government of Kiambu in a bid to cub the shortcomings that came with the manual process of collecting money where lots of it was lost and the results are now tangible and can be seen by everyone. In the same event, ICT Director Mr. Douglas Njirani said, Strathmore University carried out extensive research in the county around, how we collected revenue in the past, gave us a raft of recommendations before deploying our new County Pro system that is helping seal loopholes, improve decision making and modernize revenue collection.
This has given the county agility in finance.
The system was also rolled out to Taita Taveta County in March 2015. Taita Taveta County Chamber of Commerce Chairman, Mr. Pascal Mutula at Wundanyi Sub-County, commended the County Government for embracing this technology since cases of corruption would be tamed. On August 4th 2015 the county Governor John Mruttu after meeting with KRA head of operations in Southern Region in Wundanyi, was optimistic about the revenue that will be collected this year. For the last three months since we computerized revenue collection, we have realized improvements in revenue, he said. In 2011, Sh126 million revenue was collected while in 2013-14, it was Sh147 million. Last year we collected Sh216 million, he said.
The launch of County pro is now underway in Busia County. Speaking at the launch in Busia County, Finance executive Leonard Obimbira said The system will see Busia achieve its targeted annual revenue of Sh330 million. The officials seemed optimistic about the returns the County Pro would provide.
Based on the County Governments Budget Implementation Review Report, First Quarter FY 2015/16 Lamu County was among the bottom five Counties in terms of revenue collection with Ksh.7.70 million. Since then, the county has started piloting a couple of revenue collection systems from various vendors CountyPro being one of them. The county officials are optimistic that with the new system (County Pro) revenue will certainly increase.
The Commission on Revenue Allocation on 27th July 2015 suggested that ICT Budget Allocations for counties to be able to take full advantage of ICT related growth and development, there is a need for sufficient ICT budget allocation by the county government. The commission proposed for it to be minimum 5% of the total budget of the county in all the financial years. This will go towards funding and the counties ICT roadmaps developed in line with the National ICT Master Plan and localized to the counties growth and development agenda.
Based on the award of the DigiSchool project to Jomo Kenyatta University and Moi University and the plunge of Strathmore University into county revenue automation project, we can deduce that Kenyan universities are emerging as the newest drivers to the adoption of technology in the country. With the help of high educational centers, Kenya can become a tech savvy nation in all aspects.