H.E. Hon. Uhuru Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya, and Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces.
Fellow Cabinet Secretaries Present.
Our Development Partners Present.
The Chairman and Board of Directors of Kenya Revenue Authority.
The Commissioner General and Senior Management of the Kenya Revenue Authority.
Distinguished Private Sector Represented here today.
Our Distinguished Taxpayers,
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. On behalf of the National treasury, the Kenya Revenue Authority, and indeed everybody assembled here today, I am very honored to welcome Your Excellency once again to preside over this important annual event when we celebrate and honor our distinguished taxpayers. We feel very privileged that you have consistently accepted to be part of this important event as the President of this great nation of ours.
2. Your Excellency, we are very aware of your busy time schedule as you discharge your heavy responsibility of serving this great nation of ours. With that in mind, and your continued participation in this annual event, it is very reassuring to us as we strive to educate Kenyans and inculcate a sense of national pride in taking charge of our development agenda by ensuring that domestic revenue mobilization is the core driver of this process. I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank you and express our appreciation to you, for accepting to once again be with us today.
3. Your Excellency, with your permission, I would like to make a few remarks before I graciously invite you to address us as we honor our patriotic Kenyans who have chosen to demonstrate their contribution to the development of this nation by paying their taxes diligently and without pressure.
4. First and foremost, and on behalf of everyone here today, I would like to assure you that we are very well aware and appreciate that your dedication and support to us is not merely through your continued participation during this period when we are honoring our tax payers. You have provided leadership and you have advised and guided us.
5. Most important, you have extended your full support to us as we undertake the requisite reforms that are required to enable us meet our targets. You have done this by providing an environment where objective and candid engagements take place solely focused on finding solutions without laying blame to any one member of the team.
6. Your Excellency, this has been very reassuring to us and has provided us with the courage and determination to forge ahead and even tackle challenges that would ordinarily seem insurmountable. But this is not to say that we can sit back and enjoy the ride. We are very much aware of the need to overcome outstanding challenges and constantly review and improve our performance as we work together to transform this country of ours.
7. Secondly Your Excellency, and as you are ware during this Taxpayers’ Month, we engage stakeholders in diverse sectors to appreciate the crucial role they play in enhancing our economic sovereignty. This approach is consistent with KRA’s new approach towards taxpayers where greater focus is being given to facilitating taxpayers to understand their obligations so as to voluntarily comply. I am glad to note that this focus is bearing fruit as more Kenyans have embraced voluntary tax compliance as seen through the large numbers enrolling through the iTax platform.
8. Your Excellency, KRA has with effect from FY 2015/16 set up structured consultation forums with business association through which matters of mutual interest are discussed and problems thrashed out. The National Treasury shall continue to support KRA’s work in this and other respects in order to enhance taxpayer confidence in tax collection and public governance. Towards this end, I am pleased to note the significant investments KRA has made and continued to make in technology geared towards automating tax services. These investments are important because they not only make tax payment more convenient but in addition, serve to enhance Kenya’s attractiveness for investment from both foreign and local players.
9. Thirdly Your Excellency, and during the last Taxpayers Award celebrations, you directed the National Treasury to work with KRA to implement a risk-based vetting programme for staff working in sensitive areas. I am pleased to report that we have made good this regard. This includes the development of a comprehensive framework to guide the vetting process and which all KRA staff were taken through during the year. We will continue with this process in a transparent manner without victimizing any staff.
10. Fourthly Your Excellency, we have been able to bring to closure a long standing issue that has been of major concern to you and all taxpayers. This is the issue of tax refunds. The National Treasury has as part of measures meant to better facilitate taxpayers recently released additional Kshs.7.09 billion for the settlement of tax refunds, mainly VAT. As I speak, more than 80% of this amount has been paid out, with the balance expected to be released within November once the claims pending are verified.
11. This amount is besides the monthly allocation of Sh.1.24 billion that KRA uses to settle VAT claims. In total therefore, for this year, we shall disburse a total of Shs.21.97 billion towards VAT refund settlement, a fact expected to substantially enhance business cash positions. I want to assure you that we will continue to support our businesses so that they can compete globally.
12. In conclusion, Your Excellency, let me once again express our sincere appreciation for your continued leadership, invaluable support and your constant encouragement for us to do much better. This is what drives us and we can assure you of our commitment to do more.
13. Let me also take this opportunity to salute our patriotic tax payers and encourage them to continue working with us to rally all Kenyans to the embrace our clarion call of placing our development agenda under our drivers seat through paying taxes. This is the only sure way of ensuring that we take charge of our development destiny and I am sure you all agree with me on this.
14. With these remarks Your Excellency, it is now my honor and humble duty to invite you to address the congregation and award the deserving taxpayers for their exemplary effort.
HON. HENRY ROTICH, EGH
CABINET SECRETARY, NATIONAL TREASURY