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Monday, July 29, 2013

Death by mobile

Could the phenomenal success of mpesa have rang the death knell for non-mobile innovations? I have sat through over 30 pitches in the last year and all but 2 of them were for mobile related applications. Having said that, I should also mention that of the 2, both were 100% internet based. During the same time, I have also met several foreign investors who all came here with a bulging wallets looking strictly for mobile solutions to invest in. The reason this worries me is that in-as-much as mobile connectivity is a development game-changer in Africa, there is still so much more outside of the net that is just begging to be exploited. I am also worried because the focus on mobile apps and web solutions has starved the inventors of tangible technology of the cash that they need to work on their inventions, build prototypes etc. 

What I haven't quite figured out yet is, what should be done to give the 'inventors' more opportunities to access funding for R&D, access to incubators to nurture their business skills and access to markets for their products? Let me know if you have any ideas....


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tax Payments Made Easy- iTax by KRA

On Friday KRA and UBA gave us a sneak preview of the new online tax portal dubbed i-Tax. As explained by the Commissioner of Domestic Tax, Alice Owour, i-Tax is the latest iteration of the ITMS that we all love to hate. i-Tax which has been in pilot phase for some months now with a few medium and large taxpayers is scheduled to go-live in July 2013.

The major feature of i-Tax is the ability to facilitate both e-filing and e-payment. Another feature I like is that you can now upload simple Excel files, doing away with the cumbersome TSW (Taxpayer Software) application previously used to generate upload files. The upload process now has validation and when you make a mistake it churns out error descriptions that actually make sense (anyone who has tried to update something on ITMS knows what I'm talking about). Withholding tax certificates are auto-generated and emailed to the taxpayer as soon as payment is made. Taxpayers can now access their ledger directly and check payment status at will.