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Background of the Study

Local authority revenue is the money collected from provision of service and donation from individual and other organization. Every local authority globally has its type of revenue that it collects depending upon the environments surrounding it and the type of service it offers to its resident or citizens. The availability control and use of finances are the core of any organization existence and not least local authorities, in them public services role,(Cola, 2002).

Infrastructure, social and community services there is the part of and democratic system According to Wood et al (1988), revenue means the sales value of goods and service that have been supplied or sold to the customers. According to Mclaney, (1998) revenue is an increase in wealth rising from trading in goods and services. Nigel et al (1988) noted that the better the service the operations can provide, the better will the potential to attract customer and therefore generate revenue.

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The balance between capacities also affects revenue and demand of goods and service therefore time ensures that all demand is satisfied and no revenue is lost in any organization. The government also assists local authorities by giving grants such as road levy funds; local authorities transfer fund and contribution in lieu of rates due to the growing demand on local authorities. As the argument for new and improved services increases for essential services like closet to the citizens.

According to Wakhisi (1994), it was stated that the council should seal all loopholes to enable them become financially stable by intensifying their revenue collection to effectively provide the services required to both the workers and citizens at large. The availability, control and use of finance are at the core of any organization existence, and least local authorities, in their public service delivery role.

There are growing demands on local authority funding, as the requirements for now and improved services increase local authorities current or day-to-day expenditure are financed from a range of revenues, payments for the provision of services (charges, rent on property, planning permission fees etc. ), commercial rates and central government grants. On the particular benefit is the comprehensive way in which it identifies the “funding gap” between the expenditure an authority should incur in delivering its services and the income it should derive from local sources Donughue. 2003). 1. 2Statement of the problem Performance of LAs varies widely. Some clearly are managing to improve service delivery and undertake new projects identified as priorities by citizens like road repairs, bridges, water supplies, drainage, market improvements, street lighting. Others are struggling with past debts, reducing their efforts to collect local revenues because of the easier money from LATF, employing ever more staff, increasing councilor allowances, and opting for projects with little or no benefit to citizens.

Revenues collected by county and municipal councils include site value, land rent, area development fund, house rent, markets fees, bus parks fees and business licenses. In almost all LAs, there is a huge gap between the formally approved budget and what actually happens. The forecasted revenues cannot be collected, so most LA’s run short of money. For example the County council of Makueni annual budget report, 1998/1999, 2002/2003, and 2008/2009 financial year indicated that there was a problem in revenue collection.

The county treasurer expressed her concern on the cash flow problems the council is facing due to non-payment by debtors making it unable to service the escalating debts it owes its creditors. in the department of engineering and urban planning expected income was kshs. 2,733,086 and actual income was kshs. 1,036,726, the department of health and environment expected income was kshs. 1,036,729, the department of finance clerk the expected income was kshs. 9,297,777 and the actual income was kshs 1,252,000 and the department of social service the expected income was kshs. 60,834 and the actual income was kshs. 670,000 respectively source: (C. C. M Annual Position for the Financial Year 1998/1999, 2002/2003 and 2008/2009). This research tries to identify the factors that affect revenue collection management by local authorities in Kenya and commend on what to be done to be able to manage the aspect of revenue collection by local authorities in Kenya.

Objectives of the Study

Main Objective

The main objective of this study is to investigate the factors affecting the collection of revenue by local authorities in Kenya.

Specific Objectives

To investigate the effects of revenue collectors on `the management of revenue collection. (ii)To investigate tax default as a factor affecting revenue collection management in local authorities. iii)To investigate how leadership affects the management of revenue collection in local authorities. iv)To investigate the effects of political influence on the management of revenue collection in local authorities.

Research Questions

  1. How do revenue collectors affect the management of revenue collection in local authorities?
  2. How does tax default affect the revenue collection management?
  3. How does leadership affect the revenue collection management?
  4. What effects does political influence have on the revenue collection management?

Significance of the Study

This study will equip the researcher with the knowledge and skills because during the course of the study the researcher will be exposed to so many challenges, which he will be curious of getting solutions about, and also it will widen the scope of his learning then at the end he will have fulfilled an academic requirement.

Also it will benefit Makueni county management who understands the meaning behind revenue collection by local authorities and carefully examine its purpose and how to devote a great deal of attention to selecting strategies to manage the aspect of revenue collection which will help to satisfy the society’s needs and other stakeholders. Finally Kenya Methodist University will get reference study materials, which will be of great use to the students and the lecturers.

And also after fulfilling an academic requirement the researcher will get a certificate, which will boost credibility of Kenya Methodist University to the public and world at large. The study will benefit the following groups of stakeholders;


The study will assist revenue collectors to know the importance of collecting all revenues with a high sense of duty, discipline and honesty pertaining to the services rendered. It will develop team work and collective responsibilities between the management, employees and the residents to develop Makueni district.


This work will assist the policy maker to adopt other strategies of enhancing revenue collection so as to reduce accumulation of debts outstanding. It will assist the management to avoid having poor budgetary control system where service department make commitment beyond the approved budget levels. It will assist the management to utilize properly all the revenue collected by giving the required services to the residents so as to motivate payments promptly.

The Public

The study will create awareness among residents on the services provided, those to be provided by the management and the importance of paying for the services rather than evading payment.

Scope of the Study

The study will focus on investigating the management of revenue collection in Kenya. The target will be county council of Makueni. The respondent will include revenue collectors and the manager’s team who are revenue users and they will be met at their work station and their respective offices. The study will be carried out from March to June 2013.

Questionnaire and interviews will be used to gather information.


This sectionhighlights literature so as to find out what other researchers have contributed, and the extent of their research regarding this field of management of revenue collection in local authorities. The main factors of consideration in this study are also reviewed to bring out a clear understanding of their effects in revenue collection management.

Continuous Change Theory

Shone L and Brown (1978) the advocates of the theory of change argued that, a theory of change is simple, step by step model describing the program inputs and the expected outcomes of your effort. Theory of change should be a useful tool – a lens that gives the management a sharp focus on the steps it needs to take, or a strong well placed lever that can help move just the right mountain. This theory will force Makueni County to clarify their assumption about how change will happen in collection of revenue.

A general statement of intention will not do this for it, because theories of change are not mission statement or broad visions. They are exact and somewhat exhaustive plan that show every step, however large or small. Theories of change should be specific, detailing advocacy actions Makueni County will take and the intended results. A detailed theory of change will give a credible, well drawn blueprint for advocacy work and a clear basis for evaluation of Makueni County much simpler.

Theory of Planned Behavior

Theory of planned behavior of Adzen (1988) helps us to understand how we can change the behavior of people.

It’s a theory that predicts behavior, because behavior can be planned. This theory is a successor of the similar “Theory of reasoned action” (1975) by the same author. Adzen argues that behavior appears to be 100% voluntary and under control. It argues that behavior of others greatly affect how people behave towards a product or company. This theory will help the people concerned with collection of revenue determine the behavior of the clientele and come up with ways of how to change their behavior, if its negative , and how to encourage a positive behavior.

For instance with effective collection of revenue are likely to change the behavior of the way the local authorities manage the aspect of revenue collection.

System Approach Theory of Management

According to British researchers from the institute of human relations, Katz et al (1996) came up with the theory and viewed on organization as an open system. In this theory they had the following suggestions; first, that the main functions of an organization is to receive inputs or energy from the environments where inputs include material, people, information and finances.

In this case local authorities receive revenue from the service users or the residents and other donors. Secondly the inputs received are then converted to outputs i. e. the revenues collected enables the provision of services required by these residents as shown here below. Environment inputConversion outputEnvironment Source: Cole (1999) Thirdly, that open systems discharge their output into their environments whereby services that are generated are then taken to the required environment to be used and then generate more revenues and profits, which are fed back into the organization to provide further inputs and the cycle continues.

Lastly, one of the key features of open system is its independence on the environment. County council of Makueni as a system is interdependent with its environment for its existence and stability. Just like a human body the central nervous system and cardio-vascular system are the major sub-systems and the same applies to county council of Makueni that is divided into sub-system, i. e. the five departments, which are independent of one another and to the environment surrounding them.

Effects of Revenue Collectors

According to World Bank (2000) the local government revenue collection systems are often characterized by a huge number of revenue instruments. However, the main sources of ‘own revenues’ are usually property rates in urban councils, business licenses, market fees and various uses charges, often in the form of surcharges for services provided by or on behalf of the local government authority. Nevertheless, experiences from a number of African countries show that these revenue instruments have serious shortfalls.

For instance, property taxes can be very costly to administer (Brosio 2000; McCluskey and Franzsen 2005), and the enforcement of user fees has resulted in widespread resistance to pay from the poorer segments of the urban population in some countries (Fjeldstad 2004; Fjeldstad et al 2005). Moreover, complex business licensing systems have proved to be major impediments for the start-up and expansion of especially micro and small enterprises (Devas and Kelly 2001; Sander 2003; Pimhidzai and Fox 2011).

However, experience shows that when well administered, these revenue instruments can provide substantial and reliable Revenues for urban municipalities.

Property Tax

Empirical studies by Serwanga, (1992) on revenue assignments between various levels of government generally argue that few fiscally significant taxes are more appropriate to local administration than property tax. This is due to the fact that real property is visible, immobile, and a clear indicator of one form of wealth.

Hence, in principle, property tax is difficult to avoid and, if well administered, it can represent a non-distortional and highly efficient fiscal tool. Property tax as an annual tax on real property is levied in all countries in Africa (McCluskey and Franzsen 2005). Commonly it is a local government tax, levied mainly in urban areas . Rural properties are often not taxed, although property taxation is being extended to rural properties in some countries such as South Africa under the terms of the Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act 6 of 2004 (Franzsen 2007).

Where differential rates apply, the tax rates for residential properties tend to be significantly lower than the rates for commercial, industrial, and government properties, where these are taxable.

Business Licenses

In Africa, the standard mechanisms for mobilizing revenues from businesses have been through licensing. Although the original intent was regulatory, local business licensing has increasingly become simply a revenue source in most places (Lubega, 2000). Typically, business licenses generate between 5% and 30% of local government own revenues in urban councils.

In many countries, however, the system has been quite unsatisfactory, often quite inequitable, and has imposed huge costs on business, while generating relatively little money. According to Chitembo, (2009) the regulatory aspects of the license system have been largely abandoned. In addition, poor policy design and weak administration mean that license coverage; assessment, collection, and enforcement rates are low, leading to poor revenue generation. Thus, many existing business license systems across Africa contain serious defects.

These include (Devas and Kelly 2001: 385): High compliance costs to businesses, due to multiple licensing and complex procedures; Tariff structures that are complicated and do not reflect ability to pay; A process loaded with ineffective regulatory requirements, which provide opportunities for rent seeking; Poor administration and evasion, which reduce the tax base and generate inequities; and a revenue source that generates relatively little income for local governments.

User Fees – Linking Payment and Service Delivery

Brun, Chambas and Fjeldstad, (2012) argue that taxes are not the best mechanism for matching demand and supply of public services. Better links can be achieved through cost-recovery charging systems, which tie the amount paid directly to the amount consumed. By providing a more direct link between citizens’ contributions and service delivery, such mechanisms may become effective means to recover the costs of service provision, and to promote efficiency in the consumption of the service. Hence, most observers argue that user fees should play a prominent role in local government finance (Bahl et al. 003: 76; Bird 2001). The main economic rationale for user charges is not to produce revenue, but to encourage the efficient use of resources within the public sector. When properly designed, user charges provide information to public sector suppliers on how much clients are willing to pay for particular services and by ensuring that the public sector supplies are valued by citizens. Free or subsidized services may result in over-consumption of such services. Moreover, it may prove difficult to target the beneficiaries of free services (Rondinelli et al. 000) Local government authorities commonly experience difficulties in collecting taxes, fees and charges (Bird. 1989). Thus, there are many experiments being carried out to find solutions to make tax collection more revenue productive (Allingham, and Sandmo, (1972). Practices for collection of local taxes range from cases where local government authorities collect the taxes themselves to cases where tax collection is outsourced to private agents, semi-private partners and the central government.

Market cooperatives and private companies collecting tax on behalf of the local government are examples. Revenue collection is outsourced to a range of different types of agents within and across councils. A major challenge facing privatized revenue collection in local government authorities is to assess the revenue potential for various tax bases (Serwanga, (1992). Commonly, revenue assessment is conducted on an ad hoc basis, often based on the previous year’s reported collection.

Substantial underestimation of the revenue potential may imply that actual collection by the agent is substantially higher than what is reflected in the contract. Consequently, there is a risk of ending up in a situation where the agent keeps the substantial portion of the revenues collected, which already seems to be the case in some council (Lubega, 2000).

Effect of Tax Default

According to Bahl, & Bird, (2008) taxes are widely perceived to be unfair. The citizens see few tangible benefits in return for the taxes they pay.

This situation heightens taxpayers’ perceptions of exploitation from an unequal contract with government, and may promote tax resistance. Although most taxpayers are unable to assess the exact value of what they receive from the government in return for taxes paid, it can be argued that they have general impressions concerning their terms of trade with the government. In this context, it can be assumed that taxpayers’ behavior is influenced by their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the terms of trade with government.

Thus, if the system of taxes is perceived to be unjust, tax default may be considered as an attempt by the taxpayers to adjust their terms of trade with the government. Chon and Reinikka (1999) argue that people engage in tax evasion when the expected benefits(low taxes) are equal to the expected costs(bribes and punishments)This tends to agree with Alongham and Sandmo(1992) who also suggested that a rational individual’s choice to evade will be based on the expected gains or losses associated with the decision.

To further the argument, Bird (1989) asserts that defaulters in most developing countries can realistically assign expected value of zero to the likelihood of being detected and penalized; that the more severe the penalty, the less likely it is to be applied which showed a weakness in administration.

Contrary to that view, Wentworth et al (1985) asserted that causes of tax defaulting are the exchange, social class and chances available for evasion . Evaders in that study reported that they were not getting value for their money, tax rates were too high and that government did not spend payer’s money wisely, that the burden of taxes fell on low income and salary earners.

Forms of Tax Evasion

According to Mwenda (2009), tax evasion can take any of the following forms: Failure to report incomes profits or gains otherwise legally chargeable to tax; Reporting only part of the income gains or profits; Maintaining false books of accounts with intent to reduce taxes; Making false claims of expenses or allowances or deductions; Under declaration of goods for duty purposes and Outright smuggling to avoid payment of duties 2. 3. 7 Leadership

One of the major issues in governance is demonstrated in the fact that citizens continue to demand the devolution of power and resources to local units (Chitembo, 2009). A close scrutiny of the management and performance of existing local authorities shows that most local authorities in Kenya are not only poorly managed, but are also close to financial insolvency. Whilethe central government in Kenya manages plans and develops policies in regard to the whole nation’s affairs, local authorities tend to have jurisdiction limited to the city, municipal, county or town councils (Economic Survey 2005).

Naturally therefore, their level of action is quite limited as compared to the central government. In spite of the limits of their action, most local authorities act as the avenues for implementing decisions formed by central government at the local level; however, a review of press reports and accurate surveys undertaken within Kenya hasrevealed that there is disillusionment with the performance, management and competence of local authorities in providing the services that they are mandated to provide (Odhiambo, Mitullah&Kichamu, 2005).

It is clear that local authorities are not only failing to provide a satisfactory level of services but are also poorly managed and have departments that are among the most corrupt within the public sector in Kenya. A further indication of the growing dissatisfaction with the services provided by the existing local authorities is seen in the rise of residents associations which are prepared to resort either to court action or to campaigns aimed at withholding of the rates due to councils as a mechanism for compelling local authorities in Kenya to provide services on a regular basis (Odhiambo, Mitullah&Kichamu, 2005).

Against this background, it is important to make an assessment on the reasons for this all round poor performance of local authorities before appropriate proposals for reformsreforms and improvement are made.

Political Influence

Performance of the local authorities in Kenya is not only affected by the lack of autonomy from the Ministry for Local Government. The prescribed manner of enlisting councilors and personnel is prone to abuse.

Since the Local Government Act (Cap 265) allows for the appointment of councilors by the president, oftentimes such councilors are reluctant to submit to the authority of the managers in the local authorities. In situations where the councilors are elected, experiences of political party influence also arise. This difficulty is often reflected in councils in which the political divisions are so sharp that councilors are permanently preoccupied with gaining immediate political advantage over their opponents.

In some cases, personnel are hired without the consideration of their ability to perform the tasks at hand. Councilors and executive committees of the local governments were initially engaged in power struggles, rather than focusing on their core functions in their first five years in office. This competition has prevented a focus on institutionalization and development. However, it is worth mentioning that, for the last several years, the “fever of competition” subsided mainly due to the increasing understanding of the councilors.

Councilors should demonstrate a greater degree of responsibility and concurrently work towards a delivery of services, such as the improvement and construction of roads, often in partnership with local communities and some UN agencies (Economic Survey 2005).

Research Gap

From the empirical literature review, it is clear that taxation by local governments is important for raising the required revenue for the local authorities. Management of revenue collection in most local authorities in Kenya has not been effective.

Very little attempt has been made to improve on revenue collection. Planning the same has not been impressive either. In most cases the Audit department which acts as a watchdog of all financial management, specifically revenue collection in various collection centers suffer significantly from shortfall such as proper approach to audit work, lack of experience and planning techniques, lack of professional etiquette, reliance on manual systems and lack of training leading to poor revenue collection Audit which leaves some leakage for misappropriation.

Interference from political leaders seriously hampers operations in revenue collection in their wards. There is need to assess the factors that affect the collection of revenue by local authorities in Kenya. Revenue collectors need to use all the pieces of law at its disposal against all tax defaulters and ensure recovery even if it means use of courts of law. This is important given the fact that a lot of revenue is being lost through tax evasion and avoidance. Local governments have the mandate to raise their own revenues to finance their activities.

However much as the government is said to have sovereign right to collect taxes, nobody likes paying taxes and yet everybody appreciates that taxes need to be paid. This drives some persons into the act of tax evasion. Tax defaulting has sound effects on the revenue collection by local authorities. At the same time, there is need to study the specific effects of tax collectors on the management of revenue collection by local governments. Very little research has been done to investigate the effects of leadership on the management collection in local authorities.

There is also need to investigate the political influence effect on the management of revenue collection by local governments Revenues for the local authorities have persistently fallen short of targeted due to various challenges in revenue collection, tax evasion, poor leadership and political influence in the management of local authorities. Not much literature exists in this field. It is this reason that has prompted this research to try finding out the factors that affect the collection of revenues by local authorities hence filling the literature gap in factors affecting revenue collection by local governments in Kenya.

Revenue Collectors

The revenue collectors are the employees of the LA’s responsible for collecting the different fees and charges of the authority. They should be competent professionals of integrity and sound ethical morals for good management of revenue collection.

Tax Default

Tax default by the relevant institutions and business people leads to uncollected revenue and making the administration of the revenues hard.


The way any LA is led by its officials is an essential factor on how the revenue is managed. Corrupt leadership has led to the mismanagement of authorities hence leading to the collapse of many and failure to deliver services.

Political Influence

This is the influence that satisfies comes mostly from councilor and other government officials to satisfy their own selfish gains through unofficial ways. 2. 6Operationalization In this section the use of indicators that influence the successful outcome of revenue collection process will be identified and used to measure the variable against the parameters.

The variables will be measured against the parameters and statistics. For local authorities to achieve its goals, collective goals setting between the manager and subordinate should be done. This research will establish whether performance management goals are achieved ensuring employee flexibility and acceptance of the goal set. It will further determine the level of employee empowerment and control against and control against the performance standards and targets as a parameter. The performance evaluation would be measured taking into consideration the time frame and feedback received.

The reward system parameter would be analyzed top measure its impact on employee motivation and commitment.

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Collection of Revenue. (2016, Dec 04). Retrieved from

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