Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner, Dr Fred Mugambi has urged policymakers to embrace research and utilize the findings for public decision making to enable Africa realize its fiscal policy goals.
Dr. Mugambi, who heads the KRA training school -Kenya School of Revenue Administration (KESRA), said that research should be well done and their findings should not end up in shelves but used as the baseline for making public decisions.
“Researches are used to explain situations like trends in economic growth and GDP ratios, prove theories and find solutions to problems like illicit financial flows,” said Commissioner Mugambi.
He also highlighted three major challenges hindering research in Africa that comprises funding, alignment and sequencing of research to Africa’s problems and failure to utilize findings in public decision-making.
The Commissioner was speaking during the opening of the second KESRA Research Conference at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies that brought together revenue administrators, policymakers, researchers and scholars from various African countries. The conference is themed “embracing tax and custom reforms for trade facilitation.”
University of Nairobi Associate Professor in the School of Business Dr X.N Iraki noted that most African countries have not budgeted for research at national levels. He said research is an investment that need to take seriously in order to solve financial problems.
“Few doctorate students currently in universities are pursuing research in taxation. There needs to be research such as tax incentives and new taxes like should dowry payment be taxed, optimal tax rates,” said Dr Iraki.
The KESRA research conference is aimed at creating a platform for participants to share thoughts on research trajection in the region and to influence African tax agenda and create thought leaders in fiscal management in the continent.
East and Southern Africa, World Customs Organization (WCO) representative Mr Lary Liza encouraged researchers to relook at emerging trends in technology such as block chain and artificial intelligence to enhance taxation and Customs processes, and how to fully utilize the newly established Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).
National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) board member Mr Wilfred Okemwa said more research should be done on automation and systems integration as well as bringing to the tax brackets the small and medium enterprises.