The proposal to rename The Kenya Revenue Authority to Kenya Revenue Service sounds like one of the usual misplaced priorities in government.
The plan to rename the Kenya Revenue Authority is contained in a proposed Bill, the Kenya Revenue Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which is due for first reading when the National Assembly resumes regular sittings on Tuesday 5th May.
According to Majority leader Amos Kimunya, the aim of the name change is to deal with “negative public perceptions about the agency”, adding that the change of name is “intended to rebrand the authority in transforming its public image and thus enhancing tax compliance through improved public relations.”
How about we focus on addressing the root causes of these “negative public perceptions” instead of applying cosmetic solutions Mr Kimunya!
If you pay attention keenly, you will also realise that majority of Kenyans relate more with the KRA initials more, and it’s not surprising that some people can’t even spell the tax man’s full name. The overburdened taxpayer also doesn’t really care if the agency is branded as “service” or “Authority” or “force”, not at this time when wananchi are collapsing under an increased cost of living that has made basic items such as bread, milk and cooking oil, a luxury in most households.
It’s high time government agencies and their communications teams realized that reforms are not brought by a change of names but change of work place ethics, culture and ethos.
It doesn’t matter how much state agencies glamourize their names, for as long as service delivery to the citizenry remains inefficient and bureaucratic.
The rebranding of the Kenya Police Service from the Kenya Police Force is a good illustration that a change of name means nothing if organizational change is not part of the process. The same police service that was supposed to appear more “human” and public friendly has carried on with its reign of terror; brutalizing members of the public and perpetrating extrajudicial killings.
Branding is not cheap and especially in the corridors of our government where costs are always inflated and irregular procurement processes are the order of the day; perhaps what you should show us is the budget allocation for this “inconsequential” exercise of changing the taxman’s name and allow us to decide if we want it!