KRA shakes up top staff, sets ambitious tax collection target

Times Tower
KRA headquarters at the Times Tower in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The taxman has begun to reorganise its team of senior managers as it seeks to deliver an ambitious revenue collection in the next two financial years.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) board has named Kevin Safari as the new commissioner for Customs and Border Control after a recruitment process that started last October.

Mr Safari, an insider currently serving as regional coordinator for North Rift, has the arduous task of stemming trafficking in illicit goods and harmful products through Kenya’s border points.

The economy is estimated to be losing tens of billions of shillings every year through entry of counterfeit, contraband and smuggled goods as well as undervaluation of imports at the Mombasa port, the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and other air and seaports.

The appointment of Mr Safari was communicated in a staff memo by Commissioner-General John Njiraini on Monday.

The position fell vacant following the exit of Julius Musyoki.

Mr Njiraini also informed staff that deputy commissioner for legal services and board coordination Paul Matuku would take over the department in an acting capacity from March 2.

Mr Matuku replaces his immediate boss Wairimu Ng’ang’a who is retiring upon expiry of her three-year contract.

The appointment of Mr Safari is the first in a series of high-profile recruitment at the Time Towers expected in the coming months under the watch of the board chairman — former head of Public Service Francis Muthaura.

The board is also expected to name a substantive commissioner for domestic taxes, a position that deputy commissioner Ruth Wachira has been holding in an acting capacity since July 6, last year.

This followed the exit of Benson Korongo whose contract was not renewed.

The KRA board has, however, remained mum over the recruitment of new commissioner-general after Mr Njiraini’s two terms of three years each ended on March 3, 2018, before it was reportedly extended for a year under unclear circumstances.

The new team is expected to help the KRA grow collections to Sh1.997 trillion in the year starting July and Sh2.298 trillion in 2020-21 fiscal year under its corporate plan launched on January 16.

The plan is hinged on growing taxpayer base to seven million by June 2021 from 3.94 million in June 2018 through use of intelligent ICT platforms such as iTax, the online tax filing system, Integrated Customs Management System for real-time monitoring of goods at major border points.

The taxman has in recent years consistently missed the ambitious revenue targets set by the Treasury.