The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has dismissed the opposition's calls for an audit of the agency over allegations of theft of the taxpayers' monies, saying its revenues are on target.
National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi called for an audit of KRA last Friday amid reports of a cash crunch at the National Treasury that has seen civil servants experience unprecedented salaries delay.
Wandayi, while expressing concerns over the March salary delays that also affected members of parliament, questioned where savings from scrapped subsidies and revenue collected by the tax man were going.
The Ugunja MP claimed that senior KRA officers were pocketing the monies.
But in a statement on Monday, Acting KRA Commissioner General Rispah Simiyu denied the claims, saying the agency had invested in modern technology to seal revenue leakages.
"KRA has invested in modern technology, which works efficiently as the revenue collection and settlement system from source to The Exchequer. With this in place, there is no room for revenue diversion as strict surveillance plugs revenue loopholes," Simiyu said.
The KRA boss indicated that the technology had helped the agency to mobilise more taxes towards the country's economic growth.
"Year to date, KRA has kept pace with revenue collection compared to prior year collections. As at the close of March 2023, revenue collection averaged 95.1% on original target and 93.4% on Supplementary target, representing a collection of Kshs. 1.554 Trillion and a year on year 8% growth," KRA added.
The agency said it's committed to mobilising and securing revenue for national development through the implementation of revamped Tax Invoice Management System (TIMs).
"Conscious of the mandate to mobilise and secure revenue for national development, KRA remains committed to bridging the deficit on target. KRA continues to implement Revenue Enhancement Initiatives (REI) which include; roll out of eTIMS for efficient and effective VAT collection, integration of KRA systems with betting companies leading to improved collection in Excise Tax on betting and Withholding Tax on winnings, amicable settlement of tax disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Tax Base Expansion aimed at bringing more taxpayers into the tax bracket," the KRA boss said.
Further, KRA said it had invested in professional and competent staff to meet its obligations.
"KRA continues being a professionally managed public organisation comprising of competent staff, management and board leadership, delivering their mandate within the staff code of conduct and the KRA values," she added.
"KRA remains committed to enhancing mobilisation of government revenue, and to facilitate growth in economic activities and trade by ensuring compliance with tax and customs laws."
Wandayi had expressed concerns over the Kenya Kwanza administration's failure to service recurrent expenditure and called on parliament to extend the probe to the National Treasury and the Central Bank of Kenya to establish what had gone wrong.
“The Azimio Coalition Party is deeply concerned at the worsening economic situation in the country that has seen the government unable to meet one of its most basic obligations, which is paying its workers. We fear that this country is collapsing while we sit pretty, hoping for miracles,” Wandayi said in a press statement on Friday, April 7.
“...Where the proceeds from taxes and savings from scrapped subsidies are going, we can’t tell. The easy conclusion is that the criminals at KRA are collecting and pocketing taxes as the incompetents at the National Treasury also skim off the revenue while failing to come up with sound policies for cash flow."
He said the audit of the KRA revenue and management system would help seal any loopholes.
“This state of affairs calls for bold leadership. We are calling on Parliament to take leadership and conduct an inquiry on the financial and economic crisis building up in the country before we collapse like other African countries that have gone that route,” Wandayi stated.
“We believe a lot of our cash flow problems have got to do with the corruption, tribalism, nepotism, incompetence and plain theft at critical revenue collection points, starting with the KRA, in addition to wrong spending priorities,” he added.
Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua on Sunday admitted that the government was having challenges paying salaries due to a foreign debt burden inherited from the previous administration of Uhuru Kenyatta.
“It is true we are having challenges in paying salaries and giving money to governors because the handshake government ruined this economy. They borrowed money left, right and centre,” Gachagua told the congregation at PCEA Ngorano Center Church in Mathira, Nyeri County, on Sunday.
“Because we are a responsible government, we have to pay this money."
Gachagua revealed that some of the government loans matured last week and the government had no option but to repay. He said this week's revenue will go into serving recurrent expenditure.
“What we collected the last two weeks was sufficient to pay the loans. What we are collecting this week will pay salaries and other requirements,” he added.