President Uhuru Kenyatta on October 31 directed the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the National Treasury to go after the rich living large and evading taxes at a time the government is seeking to broaden its revenue base and bring more Kenyans to the taxman’s net.
Speaking during the Annual Taxpayers Day at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), President Kenyatta warned that High Net worth Individuals (HNWIs) must be able to justify their lavish lifestyles and their sources of income.
“There should be no room for tax evaders to thrive in Kenya…..High Net Worth Individuals whose lifestyles are not reflective of the taxes they pay must be compelled to demonstrate their sources of wealth and to contribute their share accordingly,” said President Kenyatta.
President Kenyatta also intimated that for far too long, the tax burden has been left to a few Kenyans to carry, with most of the evaders ostensibly being tycoons.
“In the past few years the impressive growth of our GDP has outstripped the growth of our tax base and as a result, it tends to fall upon few citizens who carry the burden of many. As a consequence, my government has taken steps to widen the tax base,” said the president.
Uhuru’s directive comes at a time when speculation is rife that the government is looking to float more Eurobonds and loans this year to finance its ambitious development projects amid a shortfall in revenue collection.
“There can’t be a state without people and there can’t be development without taxes. It is clearer now more than ever before that there is need for us to pay a lot more attention to both our taxpayers and both our tax collector because our nation’s future lies in your hands,” said the president.
In what seems like an aggressive move to raise more taxes, Uhuru also directed KRA to incorporate technology in its operations to curb t*********n.
“Towards the same, KRA must employ the use of technology as an enabler and use cutting edge technology in every aspect of its operations including customer care and detection of evasion. In tax collection Kenya’s rapid ICT growth rate must be tapped,” said the president.