Responsible Citizenship in Kabul

News and Press Release
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USAID helps Kabul spread the message that service delivery depends upon tax revenue

8 January 2012 | Kabul, Afghanistan

Since the campaign began, payment of the targeted tax has increased and citizen response to the campaign has been extremely positive.

“Please pay your taxes for improved city services,” is the latest message to the citizens of Kabul, posted on newly constructed billboards and in thousands of fliers and posters. The campaign, designed through a partnership between the Kabul Municipality and USAID explains how paying taxes improves municipal service delivery.

The public information campaign focuses on the “Safa’i” – which translates roughly as a “cleaning” tax. The Safa’i is the traditional monthly tax that homeowners pay to the city. Historically, the Safa’i payment was not systematically enforced, resulting in lost potential revenue for Kabul.

The messages remind citizens how to pay the Safa’i, and highlight local services and infrastructure supported by the Safa’i. Messages also highlight the city’s ability to effectively and transparently manage city revenue and finances. The initial eight billboards are complemented by posters and flyers displayed throughout the city at government offices, markets, and other public venues and distributed at municipal events and public gatherings. Following the successful launch of the campaign, Kabul Municipality is expanding the campaign and erecting an additional 100 billboards in well traveled areas throughout the city.

USAID project staff has worked closely with the city’s finance department to overhaul and improve the city’s financial management and revenue collection systems. The city is now on track to increase local municipal revenue by 14 percent from last year thanks to the identification of new revenue sources, the initiation of a computerized property tax data base, improved management of property records, improved financial management, and targeted training with city staff. The new campaign is a key feature of communication and outreach efforts to publicize these improvements in municipal financial management, and to help the city respond to citizens’ demands that they be responsive to their needs.”