A Harvard trained corporate financial advisor, Wattanga was on Tuesday evening appointed as the new KRA commissioner-general by Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u through a gazette notice.
The newly appointed Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner-General Humphrey Wattanga Mulongo comes to office with an already full in-tray as the taxman moves in to actualise revenue collection targets set out by the government this financial year.
Mr Wattanga is expected to rein in on tax cheats and tax evaders blamed for the loss of billions of shillings in tax revenues, as well as to give the tax man a humane face amidst a tough economic environment.
Get exclusive access to the groundbreaking story of Ms. Faith Odhiambo’s historic presidency at LSK in our Latest Edition of Nairobi Law Monthly MagazineDownload Latest Edition Now For Ksh 150!
“In exercise of the powers conferred by section 11 (1) of the Kenya Revenue Authority Act, 1995, the Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury and Economic Planning appoints— Humphrey Wattanga Mulongo to be the Commissioner General of Kenya Revenue Authority, for a period of three (3) years, with effect from the 22nd August 2023,” Prof Ndung’u said while announcing the appointment of Wattanga.
One of his biggest tasks upon assuming office, will be to deliver the ambitious Sh2.768 trillion in tax revenues set out for the taxman in the current financial year. The government has also set a tax revenue target of about Sh3 trillion for the 2024/25 financial year, a responsibility that now lies on the shoulder of the new commissioner-general.
Wattanga’s other immediate task will include collection of the controversial 1.5% housing levy, which has since been challenged in court.
Employers are towards the end of this month, expected to remit the back-dated levy after the Court of Appeal lifted an injunction stopping the implementation of the Finance Act 2023 pending the hearing and determination of a case filed at the High Court.
Previously, KRA was accused of falling short on its revenue targets in almost every financial year, putting it at crosshairs with the government. In the 2022/23 financial year, for instance, the taxman collected about Sh2.166 trillion in ordinary revenues against a target of Sh2.191 trillion, much to the chagrin of President Ruto.
His professional background
Mr Wattanga holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania, USA and a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry (cum laude) from Harvard University, USA.
He also attended the Alliance High School where he won the Dr Ouko Award for Academic Excellence for attaining the first position in the country during the 1990 national examination.
The former vice-chairman of the Commission on Revenue Allocation, has over 15 years of global experience serving as a business development, corporate finance and transaction advisor to private equity entities, private sector companies, development finance institutions, governments and public organisations.
At CRA where he served for six years, he was responsible for ensuring effective coordination and creating constructive synergy among the various committees.
He later served as the managing director of Meghraj Capital, the investment banking advisory arm of the Meghraj Group.
He is a member of the Kenya Institute of Bankers (KIB), a professional umbrella body for the banking and finance sector in the country, with over two decades of experience as a financial advisor.
Wattanga is also a founder and director of the elite Nova Academies in Kenya.