Bomet County hopes to hit revenue collection of Sh300 million this financial year as it switches to an automated system.
Governor Hillary Barchok said the county has been unable to meet its full potential of own source revenue collection of Sh700 million annually due to pilferage in various departments.
“Revenue collection has been a major challenge and we have been delivering less than a quarter of our potential because of the manual systems that we have been using over the years,” said Dr Barchok during the launch of the digital payment platform on Thursday.
The devolved unit has contracted JamboPay, the company that ran Nairobi’s eJijiPay online revenue collection for more than five years.
JamboPay will collect payments on its platform across all revenue streams in all the five sub-counties of Bomet East, Bomet Central, Konoin, Sotik and Chepalungu.
According to the latest reports by the Controller of budget, Bomet raised Sh201.51 million from own source revenue in the 2019/2020 financial year, exceeding its target by Sh588,337.
The county had aimed at collecting Sh200.92 million during the review period.
But, despite overshooting its target, Bomet registered a decline in revenue collection of 13.2 per cent compared to Sh232.05 million realised in the previous fiscal year 2018/2019.
Dr Barchok said the e-payment system, monitored real-time with fees paid directly to the county’s revenue bank account, would minimise pilferage, and boost performance and efficiency.
“Every time we appear before the Senate, we come under a spotlight for failure to raise our revenue targets. It is something we need to tackle and put it behind us once and for all,” he said.
For the next financial year which starts in July to June 2022, the county has set a revenue target of Sh300 million and hopes to revise it upwards in subsequent budgets following the digitisation of its collection system.
Mr Andrew Kimutai Sigei, the County Executive in charge of Finance and Economic Planning said the county has been losing money to revenue and enforcement officers who pocket the proceeds.
“Unfortunately some of the revenue and enforcement officers think that the barriers erected on roadblocks are for them to collect revenue for themselves. In fact, this morning, we suspended one officer over such issues,” said Mr Sigei.
Mr Benard Mutai, the Chief Officer in charge of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) department, said despite Bomet being one of the highest agricultural productive counties, the medical department was collecting more revenues in hospitals due to digitisation of the payment system.
“The clients will now be able to pay for the services using mobile phones and online systems. One does not need to own a smartphone to do a transaction,” said Mr Mutai.
Ms Ven Rasugu, the head of customer services at JamboPay said their e-payment solutions is currently in use in five counties -Trans Nzoia, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, and Bomet. The contract with Nairobi ended in June 2019 and was not renewed.
“When we took over revenue collection in Nairobi County, they were collecting Sh7 billion a year, but we raised it to Sh14 billion by the time the contract came to an end in five years. We are looking forward to raising revenue collection for Bomet County,” said Ms Rasugu.
The e-commerce service solution developed by the electronic payments firm has also been deployed in Ghana, Somalia and Uganda, Ms Rasugu added.