Ruto’s Government Sets Sights on Ksh 1B Daily on eCitizen

President William Ruto during a visit to the Africa Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat in Accra, Ghana, April 4.

In an audacious financial move, President William Ruto's administration has set a daily revenue target of Ksh1 billion through its eCitizen platform, as part of a larger strategy to strengthen Kenya's fiscal resources.

The move to leverage the digital platform comes as the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has repeatedly fallen short of its revenue collection targets, leading to growing pressure on the government to find new income streams to finance its budget.

Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura announced the ambitious target in a statement on Saturday, April 13, emphasizing the government's commitment to enhancing service delivery through digital innovation. "The government also hopes to raise the revenue generated from its services collected on the eCitizen digital platform to a daily average of Ksh1 billion during the same period,” Mwaura noted.

President Ruto has made it clear that reducing dependency on external funding by bolstering domestic revenue is a priority for his administration. However, achieving consistent revenue targets has proven challenging for KRA, which has underscored the necessity for new strategies.

President William Ruto and other government officials during the rebranding of eCitizen on June 30, 2023.
President William Ruto and other government officials during the rebranding of eCitizen on June 30, 2023.

In a robust move to increase collections, the government has recently revised fees for several essential services on eCitizen.

Among the notable changes, the fee for obtaining a national Identity Card has been raised to Ksh 1,000, while the cost for ID replacements has surged to Ksh 2,000 — a substantial increase from the previous Ksh 100 fee.

Furthermore, the cost for a standard 34-page passport has escalated from Ksh 4,500 to Ksh 7,500. Those requiring a 50-page passport will now have to shell out Ksh 9,500, up from Ksh 6,000, reflecting significant adjustments in the pricing structure.

With the ongoing expansion of services available on eCitizen, the platform is expected to offer up to 20,000 different services by the end of the year. The number of daily users is projected to exceed one million, further boosting potential revenue streams.

Highlighting the platform's recent success, Immigration Permanent Secretary Julius Bitok reported a remarkable 300 percent increase in collections from June to September 2023.

 "Revenue has increased from Ksh 1.40 billion in June to Ksh 4.17 billion in September," Bitok revealed, indicating a growing trend in the utilization of eCitizen services.

Despite these advancements, the KRA still faces the formidable task of meeting the government's fiscal expectations. In the first five months of the current financial year, the authority collected Ksh 963 billion, which is only about 37 per cent of the ambitious Ksh 2.5 trillion target set for the year ending June.

Historically, the government has missed its revenue targets in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 financial years. Although there was an improvement in 2022, revenue performance still lingered below the potential 25 per cent of GDP, a benchmark estimated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for emerging economies.

Mwaura remains optimistic about the government’s revenue strategy, emphasizing continuous improvements to the user experience on eCitizen. “The government is continuously innovating and improving the user experience on eCitizen. We want as many clients as possible to enjoy the convenience that it provides so that we can also hit our targets of generating revenue for the government,” he stated.

A photo of the eCitizen platform relaunch at KICC on June 30, 2023.