Opinion

LET US DIVERSIFY OUR REVENUE COLLECTIONS

Odongo Odoyo

TOPICAL COMMENTARY



As the country struggles to denounce the ghost of economic crisis, more efforts need to be put into non-oil revenue collection.

We all learn from our mistakes and him who doesn’t learn is basically a shadow of himself.

For us to move forward and revive the economy, we have to rethink our strategies including diversification of our sources of resources.

This means we must create a paradigm shift from a completely oil dependent economy to a diversified economy that does not necessarily have to wait for proceeds from oil sales to operate.

We all learn from our previous missteps and challenges and so we should never be judged harshly because every situation is a learning lesson.

We have also admitted our past mistakes and shortcomings and have decided to move on with new resolutions.

Good enough, our country is blessed with so many border entry points which we can convert into non-oil revenue collection points.

Apart from this we can also invest heavily in animal husbandry and farming through irrigation.

There are lots of countries to in our neighbourhoods whose challenges at independence were more than ours today.

However, all we need to is to have some sort of structures in place that will ensure all revenue collected is accounted for.

It is not enough to always talk about your past like most of us do. In fact we spend ample time talking about irrelevant things instead of investing the same in constructive conversations including how to revive our economy and how to educate our children.

I have come across people whose statements can never end before they say, “during the war… we did this or that.. oh where were you during the war”.

It must be made clear that such statements only serve to demoralise us instead of motivating us to work hard and claim our position in the regional and continental economic maps.

As a country we have enough human resource and manpower to effectively drive this economy to whichever heights we would want it to get to.

We need to change our mentality and perception about life. It means that we must review our strategies as a nation to see whether they can spur economic growth.

We should be an income generating economy rather than a consumption economy. This means that we should look at wealth creation as an avenue to creating for jobs and fighting poverty rather than mismanaging what we have.

State resources and public resources should strictly be used for the benefit of the civil population.

Non-oil revenue can only be generated if resources collected are properly channelled to rendering essential services to the tax payers.

It would be unfair to ask people to pay taxes or collect revenue when they do not even have the very basic services they are entitled to.

Non-oil revenue collections should also come from duties and taxes imposed on imported goods. This means that the more secure our country becomes, the more investors we continue attracting and vice versa.

If we don’t develop a culture of creating more investment opportunities then again we fall into the trap of over relying on oil revenues.

Remember oil is a resource which can be exhausted and so we need to cushion ourselves from any crisis like we have gone through following the 2013 and 2016 economic meltdown.

This commentary therefore seeks to appreciate our diversity as a people and how we can use our country’s available resources to build a strong economy.

From my point of understanding, we can only enjoy better trade or bilateral ties with our neighbours or partners if we have a strong economy.

Our membership in the East African Community block will only be useful if we have something to export to our common markets or even our sister countries.

It is not only unfair but also very dangerous for us as a country to be over dependent on imports from our neighbours going by our past experiences.

Take a look at Kenya’s 2007/8 post-election violence where no goods were going beyond certain borders, more so those destined through Uganda.

Such situations can cause us great harm, especially when we rely on import. We should strive produce some things locally, more so food commodities through local farming.

The fact that River Nile runs through Juba and of course in thousands of miles, is enough blessing for us as a people to become a farming nation.

If we can start by producing basic foods like tomatoes, onions and even vegetables within the country then we will generate even more income from exporting the surplus to our neighbours including Sudan, Kenya and even DRC Congo.

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