Effects of an intergrated revenue collection system and challenges facing its implementation in Machakos County
Public revenue collection is an integral component of fiscal policy and administration in any economy because of its influence on national government operations and the grassroots. It is the fuel of every government as it is the main instrument through which government funding is ensured. Research establishes that it is inconsistent for county governments to exclusively look to the national government for revenue to establish or maintain programs whose benefits have a local reach. Following the establishment of devolved governments in Kenya, county governments were expected to collect their own revenue to mitigate between allocation of revenue from central government and their own budget. This called for automation of revenue collection systems from Local Authority Integrated Financial Operations Management System (LAIFORM) to Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS). Automation of revenue collection system involves investing in modern technologies for example: ICT in order to upgrade the revenue system to achieve integration and information sharing in so as to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of the system. This study sought to establish effects of Revenue Collection Automation and implementation challenges faced by the management at Machakos County in Kenya. The study involved a longitudinal causal study supplemented by in-depth qualitative interviews. The population of study was Machakos County consisting of eight (8) sub counties. Judgmental sampling was used in selecting two sub counties from the eight existing sub-counties based on the size and level of activity. The study used both primary and secondary data sources. The primary data was collected using an interview guide while secondary data was obtained from past records and reports of the manual systems from the county‟s Finance department, from 2011 to 2014. Trend analysis was used to bring out the comparison between the period before and after automation of revenue collection in Machakos County. Chi-square was used to test whether the change in the level of automation has a relationship to the increase in revenue collection in Machakos County. The findings were presented line graphs and tables while explanation to the tables and figures was given in prose. Content analysis was used to analyze the primary data from the interviews. The study established that implementation of integrated revenue collection system influenced revenue collection positively. Challenges that were identified to influence implementation of integrated revenue collection system included resources, staff capacity, political interference, remoteness among others. The study recommends that the county government should be more committed to the implementation to ensure adequate resource allocation and also top offer leadership. Also, it was recommended that the county government should ensure that it builds on its staff capacity through establishment of ICT professional curriculum.