KENYA – Absa Bank Kenya has signed an agreement with Interswitch to provide financial assistance to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to fast track acquisition of KRA’s new electronic tax devices. 

The partnership between the lender and the electronic payments and infrastructure company comes just three weeks ahead of the November 30 set by the taxman. 

KRA extended the deadline for the second time after the first one set for July 1 was pushed to September 30. 

This was to allow all the firms that collect VAT to transact successfully before adopting the new Electronic Tax Invoice Management System (TIMS) devices. 

According to KRA, TIMS allows for real-time validation and authentication of tax invoices. Kenya currently has an estimated 600,000 VAT payers. 

By August, 17 suppliers and 13 manufacturers had installed and had been cleared to use the new machines. 

The financing agreement to support SMEs adopt the new electronic devices seeks to support the government’s agenda to increase revenue collection by 30 per cent this financial year. 

Speaking at the agreement signing, Absa Bank Kenya business banking director Elizabeth Wasunna said the partnership will also provide technical support to the SMEs. 

This will enable their customers comply with the taxman’s requirements without putting a strain on their cash flows, given the difficult operating environment. 

“We fully understand the difficult times that our SME customers are facing due to the challenging operating landscape, and as their partner for growth, we are committed to continuing working with them towards recovery from the pandemic’s impact and general slowdown in the macroeconomic circumstances,” Wasunna said. 

As part of the partnership, Interswitch will supply the devices and provide any requisite technical support to customers who will acquire the devices. 

Interswitch’s head of sales network and marketing Daniel Kiriungi hailed the lender for coming out to support businesses to thrive by giving them the necessary support for compliance purposes. 

“We believe there is no way businesses can achieve their potential without complying with the necessary regulatory requirements of the land,” Kiriungi said. 

He said the partnership is in line with Interswitch’s goal of empowering businesses to grow. 

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