Kenya’s leading mobile phone communications firm, Safaricom, on Monday emerged the top tax payer in the country for the 2011/2012 financial year.
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) also named East African Breweries Limited (EABL) and the Teachers Service Commission as the second and third top tax payers in the country respectively.
KRA Commissioner-General, John Njiraini, said the top companies did not only contribute the highest amount but also paid in time and followed all the required regulations.
“The celebration of distinguished tax payers aims at rewarding those who voluntarily comply and at the same time try to change the behaviour of those who do not. We, however, urge these non-compliant ones to change their ways in order to avoid punitive consequences when we finally catch up with them,” said Njiraini.
The other top 10 companies include British American Tobacco, Kenya Commercial Bank, Barclays Bank, Kenya Ports Authority, Equity Bank Limited, Standard Chartered Bank and KenGen.
President Mwai Kibaki, who officiated the event in Nairobi, directed all relevant government agencies to deal with Kenyans and businesses that are evading paying taxes.
He said the government’s aim, through KRA, is to improve tax collection in order to raise resources for funding government operations without excessive borrowing.
“I remind Kenyans that tax evasion is an economic crime punishable under the Economic Crimes Act. Let us keep the required standards in all ways that we can. And that the few individuals who escape tax, can feel ashamed,” the president said.
“We also aim to make our tax system simpler, easier to comply with and efficient in promoting domestic investment, Foreign Direct Investment and employment creation,” he added.
Kibaki said the government would continue to ensure that the revenue raised was utilised efficiently and transparently through the elimination of wastage and corruption.
The top 10 taxpayers contributed close to Sh115 billion during the period, which is 17 percent of the total tax collected in the last financial year.
Finance Minister Njeru Githae, who also attended the award ceremony, revealed that in the next financial year, KRA targets to collect over Sh1 trillion as revenue.