Research, utilize findings to solve economic challenges: African policymakers told

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 using well done research and findings to transform policies might act as the baseline for making public decisions. 

“Researches are used to explain situations like trends in economic growth and GDP (Growth Domestic Products) ratios, prove theories and find solutions to problems like illicit financial flows,” said Mugambi.

Arguing that findings should not end up in shelves, the commissioner 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. This was during the opening of the 2nd KESRA research conference at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies that brought together revenue administrators, policymakers, researchers and scholars from various African countries. 

Researches are used to explain situations like trends in economic growth and Growth Domestic Products ratios, prove theories and find solutions to problems like illicit financial flows

Themed “embracing tax and custom reforms for trade facilitation”, the 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.

University of Nairobi’s associate professor, the School of Business, Dr X.N Iraki noted that most African countries have not budgeted for research at national levels. Besides acknowledging KESRA for taking up the challenge of agitating for fiscal policy management related research in the continent, he said research is an investment that should be taken seriously in order to solve financial problems. He said that while few doctorate students are pursuing research in taxation, it is time to shift to research such as tax incentives and new taxes like “optional tax rates”. For example, should dowry payment be taxed.

At the same time, 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) 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. 

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