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MOBILIZING LOCAL REVENUE FROM THE BUSINESS SECTOR Roy Kelly Duke University &lt;;. Innovations in Local Revenue Mobilization World Bank Workshop Sponsored by the Tax Policy and Administration and Decentralization Thematic Groups,

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mobilizing local revenue from the business sector roy kelly duke university roykelly@duke edu


Innovations in Local Revenue Mobilization

World Bank Workshop Sponsored by the

Tax Policy and Administration and Decentralization Thematic Groups,

World Bank Institute and Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

23-24 June 2003

business taxation or regulation
Business Taxation or Regulation?
  • Legal issues
  • Standard evaluation criteria
    • Revenue Adequacy
    • Efficiency
    • Equity
    • Administrative Feasibility
    • Political Acceptability

If taxation: Maximize revenues fairly and efficiently within administrative and political constraints

If regulation: Fees should be limited to costs of administration/enforcement (except to offset negative externalities)

rationale for local business taxation
Rationale for Local Business Taxation

Benefit Principle: local businesses should pay for the general benefits they receive—not captured by direct user charges. Benefit taxes can be both efficient and equitable.

Entitlement Principle: local communities are entitled to a share of the proceeds from economic activities.

Caution from the economists: Firms can pass on the tax burden to suppliers and consumers, and possibly ‘export’ a portion of the tax. This affects the ultimate incidence of a tax on businesses and resulting efficiency and equity positions.

rationale for local business licensing
Rationale for Local Business Licensing

Market Failuresprovide justification for government intervention—often exercised through regulatory controls such as licensing.

Public health: licensing of food & alcohol trade, slaughter slabs, meat processing, etc.

Public safety: entertainment & casinos, street trading, industries liable to cause pollution, etc.

Public welfare: zoning—licensing for location, limiting excessive competition and quality control (e.g., taxis, certain traders, …)

business taxation revenue experience
Business Taxation/Revenue Experience
  • Wide Variety
    • Ad Valorem on income, turnover/sales, property value
    • Unit Rates on type, size, location (presumptive)
  • Local Examples(see Bird, 2003, Devas/Kelly, 2001):
    • North America (corporate income, VAT, property)
    • Europe (business capital/profits in Germany, business capital/payroll in France)
    • Latin America and Asia (turnover w/ flat fee for small businesses in Brazil, Venezuela and the Philippines, Octroi in South Asia)
    • Francophone Africa (business capital/payroll/turnover)
    • Anglophone Africa (licensing)
first priority business permits not property rates
FIRST PRIORITY: Business Permits NOT Property Rates


  • Businesses have a “culture of paying” thus compliance should be quite high.
  • Businesses have “ability to pay”
  • Businesses are spread throughout all LA(s)
  • All LA(s) have access to some economic base of businesses.
  • Businesses license revenue administration is quite simple and can serve as catalyst for improving all local revenue administration
the critical obstacle
The Critical Obstacle

Although policy can be fine tuned, the primary obstacle to successful local revenue mobilization is:

Weak Administration


  • Lack of citizen credibility
  • Lack of political will
  • Revenue base information: lacking, incomplete, or dated
  • Misclassification
  • Low collections
  • Enforcement: virtually non-existent
analytical model for revenue mobilization




CR: Coverage Ratio

VR: Valuation / Classification Ratio

CLR: Collection / Enforcement Ratio

Analytical Model for Revenue Mobilization

Policy Variables

Administrative Variables






= * * * *

Rev Base: Unknown Revenue Base

TR: Tax Rate / Fee Structure

reform environment in kenya
Reform Environment In Kenya

Kenya Local Government Reform Programme

    • Improve Service Delivery
    • Participatory Governance
    • Poverty Alleviation

Primary Focus and Accomplishments:

  • Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers

- Local Authorities Transfer Fund (LATF)

  • Revenue Mobilization and Financial Management

- Single Business Permit, local authority integrated financial operations management system (LAIFOMS)

  • Participatory Service Delivery Planning

- Local Authority Service Delivery Action Plan (LASDAP)


Local Government Reform Programme (KLGRP)

Phasing and Future Scenario

Conceptualization Phase

Take-Off Phase

Consolidation Phase

  • ·  Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATF)
  • Participatory Local Authority Service Delivery Action Plan (LASDAP)
  • Single Business Permit
  • Pilot IFMS
  • (PRSP, 9th Development Plan)

Decentralization Policy, Constitution Review, Local Government Act Review, public sector management and sectoral reforms, capacity development, econ recovery plan

Series of GOK studies, Omamo Commission,

KLGRP secretariat, …

Capacity of local governments

Devolution of functions to local governments

Early 1990s

Late 1990s

2002 onwards

2004 onwards?

comprehensive and integrated reform
Comprehensive and Integrated Reform


  • Central Government abolished central level trade licensing
  • Local Government Act changed to allow Single Business Permit
  • Ministry of Local Government SBP Circular Issued containing the 2-year phase-in strategy, classification/tariff schedules and administrative procedures
  • Local Authorities Transfer Fund (LATF) Act enacted


  • 36 LA(s) adopted the SBP in 1999
  • Local Authority Services Charge (LASC) phased out 1999-2000
  • LATF monies (Ksh 1 billion) released to all local authorities
  • Integrated Financial Operations Management System (IFOMS) initiated in 2 pilot sites.


  • 138 LA(s) adopted the SBP in 2000
  • LASC phased out by 1/2000
  • LATF’s SBP requirement
  • LATF monies increased to Ksh 2.3 billion for FY 2000-2001
licensing environment in kenya
Licensing Environment In Kenya
  • Established System (Pre-Independence)
  • Evolved into a Complex System:
    • Multiple level of licenses (central and local)
    • Multiple licensing agencies
    • Multiple licenses for one business (based on activities)
    • Illogical & inconsistent tariff structures and categories across LA(s) and business activity
    • Poor Administration (incomplete registers, misclassifications, no billing, poor collection, ineffective enforcement, lack of taxpayer service)
    • Ineffective regulatory requirements
    • Low level of local revenues, with little scope for increase

High Economic, Administrative and Compliance Costs with low revenue yield and regulatory impact

business profile in kenya 2000
Business Profile in Kenya (2000)

Over 300,000 reported businesses by LA(s)

Activity Type Nation Counties

(as % of Nation)

Traders 56% 50%

Informal sector 15% 42%

Lodging/catering 12% 56%

Agricultural 5% 63%

Industry/workshop 5% 33%

Education 2% 40%

Others 5% 20%

TOTAL 100%48%

license reform in kenya objective
License Reform In Kenya: Objective

Rationalizethe policy and administrative procedures in order to:

  • Deregulate business sector to encourage greater economic growth and employment
  • Provide more buoyant revenues for local authorities
  • Improve horizontal and vertical equity
  • Reduce administrative and compliance costs
what is the single business permit
What is the Single Business Permit?

A Single Business Permit is “a permit that allows the conduct of a business or trade, including a profession or occupation, within the area of a local authority.” (LGA, Cap 265, Section 2)

A comprehensive definition:

  • Improves the revenue base, equity, efficiency and administration.
  • Provides the necessary information for local planning, regulation, finance and service delivery.
sbp decoupled from regulatory functions
SBP decoupled from Regulatory Functions
  • There are no prerequisites for granting or renewing a license--such as a pre-approval or inspection by such offices as the health department or planning department.
  • All businesses must comply with current regulations on health and safety, with inspections to be conducted on an ongoing basis, coupled with own enforcement provisions (e.g., closure)
  • LA may cancel an existing business permit where “upon receipt of a written report from an inspector appointed under this Act or any other written law, it finds that the business or trade to which it relates endangers the health and safety of the persons residing in the neighborhood.” (Cap 265, Section 163 A (5)).
how does the single business permit work
How does the Single Business Permit work?
  • Each LA has discretion to choose one column (1-16) from the SBP Fee Schedule issued by the MoLG. Councils are responsible and accountable for the choice of fee schedule. Fee Schedules are “pre-approved” by the Minister.
  • Fee schedules are progressive, based on presumptive turnover/income, differentiated by business type and size.
  • Each business only pays one SBP fee.
sbp requirements
SBP Requirements
  • Each tariff schedule (ie, each column) must be used in its entirety.
  • Council must Gazette its fee schedule.
  • Each business should be registered, classified and recorded in a business register.
  • Each business is to pay for only one permitin accordance with its SBP classification.

Note:Although other licenses should not be charged, businesses can be required to pay other fees and charges such as user charges for garbage collection, advertising, etc.

buoyant revenues for la s
Buoyant Revenues for LA(s)
  • A simplified fee structure and administration strengthens ability to register, assess, collect and enforce against non-compliance
  • A progressive fee structure allows for buoyant revenue enhancement
  • A comprehensive business register creates a broad revenue base
improve horizontal vertical equity
Improve Horizontal & Vertical Equity
  • Fee structure simplified to assist proper classification
  • Fee structure differentiated by business type and size
  • Larger businesses pay more than smaller businesses
  • Relative fee structure consistent across LA(s), although absolute fee levels are determined by LA
reduce administrative compliance costs
Reduce Administrative & Compliance Costs

Fee Structure and Administrative Procedures were simplified to

  • Make it easier (cheaper) for Businesses and Professionsto be Registered, Classified, Assessed and Pay a Single Business Permit
  • Make it easier (cheaper) for Local Authoritiesto Register, Classify, Assess and Collect a Single Business Permit

through a “One Stop Shop” (OSS)

Kenya SBP Form

SBP Data Form

sbp experience in kenya
SBP Experience in Kenya
  • Widely appreciated by the business sector and LA(s)—higher revenues, lower compliance costs. (Abuodha and Bowles, 2000)
  • Initial revenues went up 30-40 percent. SBP accounts for 15 percent of total own source revenues. Largest source of revenues in counties (27%) and small towns (22%).
  • National level consultative forum (KAM, KNCCI): only 13 LA(s) identified as problematic.
sbp implementation issues
SBP Implementation Issues
  • Slight policy adjustments made for (new categories—mega traders & communications, reduction for large industry)
  • Traveling wholesaler issue (e.g., bread)
  • Professionals
  • Level of fee schedule (court cases)
  • Multiple licensing or intentional misclassification
  • Need for more effective dialogue between LA and business community
  • Need for improved collection/enforcement
  • Continual need for improved administration (registries, classification, collection—LAIFOMS)
general lessons from kenya
General Lessons from Kenya
  • Keep policy and administration simple.
  • Make LA(s) accountable for rate discretion but with central guidance and oversight.
  • Delink regulatory controls from licensing revenues
  • Involve business community stakeholders
  • Refine policy but focus must be on improved administration
way forward
Way Forward
  • Improve Consultation: Organize consultative forums with councilors, staff and business community (linked to participatory governance activities)
  • Improve Implementation: Local authorities and business community partnership
    • Create a comprehensive business registry ensuring complete coverage and accurate classification
    • Consult on selection of the business fee schedule
    • Improve collection and enforcement
  • Improve Monitoring: Regularly monitor progress on the implementation of Single Business Permit and take corrective measures on noted irregularities.