Memes flooded the internet yesterday after news broke that the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) will start using drones to enhance its tax surveillance efforts. However, many of us didn’t quite get how this was plausible so I went digging.
The taxman says it will soon commission two unmanned aircraft systems to conduct aerial scrutiny. “The Kenya Revenue Authority invites bids from eligible candidates for supply, delivery, testing, and commissioning of two unmanned aircraft systems for aerial surveillance,” KRA said.
In order to capture specific data from the surveillance and determine the correct valuation of items such as assets including property and whether they have been valued correctly the agency has come to a conclusion drones are the way to go. 2 drones actually.
The 2 drones will give KRA access to real-time financial data (I don’t know how) including sales helping KRA maximize collections.
A quick research on how this would work takes me to Greece where back in 2018, the Finance ministry tax inspectors and the coast guard launched the drones project on Santorini, an island highly popular with tourists, to check on whether operators offering short day trips were issuing legal receipts to all their passengers.
Based on data from the drones, authorities were able to establish how many passengers were on board, then cross-referenced it with declared receipts and on-site inspections.
I couldn’t find more on how drones will be used to maximize collections or give KRA to real-time data but chances are this is just another waste of taxpayers’ money in Kenya and will lead nowhere.