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How City Hall has fallen short of meeting source revenue targets since 2014


City Hall has failed to meet its own-source revenue targets since 2014 with poor performance continuing to be recorded since record revenue collection in 2016.

The Sh11.72 billion own source revenue recorded in the financial year ending June 30, 2016 remains the highest revenue collected by the county since the advent of devolved units in 2013.

REVENUE PERFORMANCE

The lowest revenue performance was recorded in the first financial year of devolution, 2013/2014, when only Sh10.03 billion was collected against a target of Sh12.13 billion.

However, the revenue performance improved in the regime of former Governor Evans Kidero with collection improving to record over Sh11 billion in two financial years only to dip in the last year in office which was dominated by campaigns.

The poor performance was blamed on the delay in the passage of Finance Act, 2013. Nevertheless, the next financial year ending June 30, 2015 saw the revenue collected improve to Sh11.5 billion against a revised budget of Sh13.2 billion.

The improvement coincided with City Hall entering into a contract with tech firm JamboPay to collect revenue on its behalf.

Record internal revenue was posted in the financial year ending June 30, 2016 when Sh11.72 billion was realised although the collection still fell short of the target of Sh15.3 billion.

The impressive performance was, however, short-lived as the revenue dramatically dipped to Sh10.93 billion in the financial year ending June 30, 2017 against a humongous target of Sh19.57 billion. This was the last year before Dr Kidero lost the seat to Mike Sonko.

REVENUE SHORTFALL

Nonetheless, Governor Sonko’s administration has failed to match even the lowest collection of the previous regime’s revenue performances in the two financial years in office.

The governor, his executives and chief officers are meeting in Mombasa over the county’s poor revenue performance.

Governor Sonko’s first financial year in office – financial year ending June 30, 2018 – saw the county collect a paltry Sh10.11 billion against a target of Sh17.23 billion.

The county government blamed the Sh7.12 billion revenue shortfall on a long electioneering period among other underlying challenges.

“We are not wholly to blame as each of the 47 counties had a drop in revenue this financial year because of six months period of campaign. In Nairobi, we also had a month of demonstrations and that really worked against us,” said Charles Kerich last year July when he was the then Finance Executive.

The following year, financial year ending June 30, 2019, was no better as only Sh10.25 billion was collected as internal revenue against a much revised target of Sh15.29 billion. This was a shortfall of Sh5.04 billion.

REVENUE STREAMS

The poor own source revenue performance was this time blamed on a not-so-well performance by the county’s top five revenue streams including rates, single business permits, building permits, parking and outdoor advertising.

The financial year can also be remembered as one where the county government parted ways with JamboPay, a firm which had been collecting revenue on behalf of the county since April, 2014, on June 7, 2019.

In the five years’ partnership between the two, JamboPay managed to digitize more than 130 of the 138 county revenue streams, collecting over Sh40 billion in the process.

City Hall, however, announced it will be going it alone in internal revenue collection and in the process launched a new e-payment system, Internal Revenue Management System (IRMS) requiring city residents to pay for services offered by the county government using USSD code *235#.

The three months that followed, City Hall posted a fall of Sh336 million collecting only Sh1.539 billion in the three months from over 130 revenue streams compared with Sh1.875 billion collected in a similar period last year.