KRA sounds alarm on climate change

By David Njagi

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has warned that Kenya risks a shrunk revenue base due to the changing climate patterns.

According to KRA Commissioner General, Michael Waweru, the changing climate patterns should begin to act as a wake up call to tax collection agencies that revenue figures are under threat.

"As revenue collectors, we need to be conscious of the interdependency between environmental sustainability and economic development on one hand, and revenue figures on the other," he said, "we therefore need to step up environmental advocacy with a view to revisiting this apparent trend of dereliction."

KRA's entry into the global climate change movement comes almost a year after the Nairobi United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced that climate change could shatter developing countries' economies.

Flooding, desertification and persistence droughts are frequent occurrences in the Kenya's hardest hit areas.

Mr Waweru was addressing delegates of the Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA), Sunday, who are gathered in Nairobi for a five day conference.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Amos Kimunya is still optimistic that the country is in the race as a potential source of fossil fuels even after oil prospectors failed to strike deposits at the Kenyan coast.

"Although we explored oil five kilometers into the Indian Ocean but found none, we hope to strike an offshore deposit soon," says Kimunya.

According to Hon. Kimunya said the presence of fossil fuels deposits in Kenya would deepen global partnership with other taxpayers, while also offering tax relief to her citizens due to the attractive revenue that oil generates for an economy.

He projects that the country's revenue base would shore up from the current Ksh. 380 billion in the 2006/07 financial year to Ksh. 420 billion in the 2007/08 financial year.

Kenya's interest in fossil fuels however comes at a time when there is a global shift to biofuels, a situation which has seen petroleum companies invest heavily in alternative sources of energy.

This is the first time Kenya is hosting the 28th annual CATA conference since its inception in 1997, and is among the 46 member countries.

Kenya is expected to be among CATA's training beneficiaries, a programme which is geared at equipping tax collectors with modern skills to crackdown on tax evasion and money laundering.

"We want the training to boost a country's internal capacity to root out the vice of money laundering and tax evasion by partnering with other Eastern Africa countries," says CATA chairman, Mustapha Mosafeer.

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