JamboPay, the youth-owned company that collects revenue in Nairobi City County, has proved to be equal to the task if what is going on Nairobi County is anything to go by. Since it took over during Kidero’s time, the company has been able to maintain its systems with very limited hitches.
The recent disclosure by Nairobi County current regime that revenue collection had shot up is evidence of the effectiveness of the company. At a time when counties are grappling with manual revenue collection, JamboPay comes in as the proverbial stitch in time that will save nine.
From a paltry Kshs. 7 to Kshs. 10 million shillings that Kidero used to collect, the Sonko regime with the help of JamboPay raised revenue collection to between Kshs. 70 million and Kshs. 100 million. This is the money that has enabled Nairobi County to finance a huge number of capital projects such as road construction that is now ongoing.
According to financial analysts from the Centre for African Progress (CAP), JamboPay is the only company that has dedicated itself to the strengthening of revenue collection infrastructure in the whole country. Its high level digital platform allows for the entry of various revenue streams that are captured as soon as taxpayers make their payment digitally. By the end of it all, the user, in this case the county government, can easily tell how much money was collected from what revenue stream.
Nairobi is the country’s largest county with about 70% of the country’s GDP. Meaning that if JamboPay has managed to handle revenue collection in Nairobi, there is no county where it cannot carry out the task. Other counties are seeking to go the digital way, and a good number of them are not ready to gamble with newcomers in the field, hence the unquestionable upper hand JamboPay has in this area.
At a time when the EACC and other anti-graft agencies are keen on what the County Chiefs are doing as far as tender allocation, revenue collection, and revenue utilization are concerned, the safest choice for most of these counties will be to employ the services of an entity with proven systems, and this way, JamboPay will get an obvious advantage. Even the NHIF found the JamboPay systems so good that it allowed its clients to pay using its platform. This is definitely a ringing endorsement of confidence.
A survey by the Centre for African Progress (CAP) regarding the confidence of Kenyans on banks being allowed to collect revenue in counties revealed that 86% of the citizens feel that banks exist to benefit from the people without necessarily helping them improve their financial standing, thus detesting the idea of banks getting into the revenue collection sector in the counties.
Douglass Maranga, a CAP financial researcher and analyst notes that any county that hires a bank to collect revenue will be entering into treacherous waters. “It is basically as bad as working with an unknown entity. Even public goodwill won’t be there since Kenyans view banks suspiciously,” he added.
It also helps that JamboPay is in the hands of the youth, hence giving the counties that give it the revenue collection job a chance to prove that they are indeed committed to promoting young people who have hitherto remained behind in securing tenders both in the national government and the devolved units.
Counties that are in the process of digitizing their revenue collection include Turkana, Kisii, Nyamira, Laikipia, Nyeri, Bungoma, and Siaya.