Use of Geographical Information Systems to enhance revenue collection in Local Government:
Kibe, Elizaphan Mwaura
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The need to raise sufficient finance for local government administrations to function effectively is perhaps the main objective of local governance. Service delivery master plans and programs are irrelevant if there is no sustainable source of income to facilitate their implementation. Also to be noted, local government handles a colossal amount of data needed for efficient administration and to support critical decision making processes. However, this may not be realizable where available data cannot be matched with necessary management tools to create desired results. For instance, property taxation is the main source of income for local governments. There is therefore need for a management system that will bring about desired efficiency and effectiveness in the administration of property taxation. A land information system (LIS), a kind of Geographical Information System (GIS), can provide the required data management capabilities for property tax administration. This project looks into the use of GIS to enhance revenue collection in local government, and particularly the collection of property tax which is the most critical source of revenue. It develops time and cost effective procedures and methods for its implementation vis-a-vis building the required database and developing relevant users’ applications. For this study, Town Council of Kilifi, one of the 175 local authorities in Kenya was taken as a sample application. Procedures were discussed in displaying the results of GIS work using real data collected for Town Council of Kilifi. Queries were developed to generate required information for administration of property tax in the local authority. From the analytical process carried out, it is evident that planning for revenue collection can best be carried out by a system that combines spatial and attribute data management capabilities like GIS. The project notes the role of GIS as a veritable application tool in the administration of property tax in any geographical area. It is recommended that the system be upgraded to cover other applications such as collection of business permit fees and development approval fees which basically use the same spatial data, since developments and business are carried out within a property. These can be easily achieved by taking an inventory of all developed properties and the business being carried out within those parcel units. It is also recommended that the Ministry of Local Government create an enabling environment for Local Authorities to uptake and maintain GIS technology.