Technology improves financial sustainability at African municipalities

Municipalities across Africa are adopting new technology and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) options in their efforts to increase revenue collection. Increased revenue collection, and the management thereof, will improve the ability of the municipality to sustain and even expand service delivery to their residents and customers.

Many African countries have already recognised the pivotal role that technology plays in achieving successful revenue collection. A recently launched electronic tax payment system in Tanzania has shown remarkable increases in revenue collection. Since it was launched earlier this year nearly US$3million has been collected, a 57% increase on the same period for the previous year. The new system allows tax payers to remit their payments using mobile phones.

In Osun State in Nigeria, deployment of a new ICT system has enabled a 100% rise in the monthly internally generated revenue from US$1.8million to US$3.7million over the course of a year. The previous methods of payment and tax administration, which were fraught with leakages and loopholes, have been discarded and a new ICT-driven revenue and taxation management system was introduced with instant results. The state now stands on much stronger financial ground which has enabled it to serve the people better.

African municipal managers and town clerks from across the continent are heading to Johannesburg for the Syntell Sustainability Forumnext month, to learn more about how technology can save money for their municipalities. The forum is unique in that it is uniting municipalities, utilities and road traffic authorities from across the continent to confront the massive challenges they are facing with revenue collection, management and accountability. The event will encourage all key stakeholders within the local government sector from Africa to share best practices so that pockets of excellence can be replicated.

“This timely forum provides an opportunity for those active in Africa’s local government sector to learn and prepare for the introduction of technology solutions.” says Mr Martin Achar of the Mombasa City Council in Kenya. Mr Achar joins a panel discussion with other African municipal managers including Mr Andile Fani from Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality in South Africa and Mr Ernest Sumani fromNdola City Council in Zambia at the Syntell Sustainability Forum. They will discuss the daily challenges and opportunities faced in their efforts to build financially sustainable and mobile cities.

The Syntell Sustainability Forum aims to change the status quo of the African municipality by creating a learning and knowledge exchange forum that allows African municipalities to identify systematic and technological solutions, and put procedures in place, to meet their financial targets.

The forum is sponsored by Syntell, Sebata, Touchwork, UMS and WITS Graduate School of Public and Development Management, and provides a dedicated platform for cross-border collaboration and shared learning amidst the African local government sector. With specialised programmes designed for municipalities and utilities, and road traffic authorities, the Syntell Sustainability Forum is the only African forum that will bring together decision makers from all aspects of local government and municipalities under one roof. 

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