Review law to ease tax burden, advises Icpak

Reuben Mwambingu @reubenmwambingu

Constitution amendments are necessary to minimise government spending and cushion Kenyans against the burden of escalating cost of living, Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (Icpak) says.

The body gave a raft of recommendations, including capping of salaries paid to public officers, which it says could help the country curb public funds wastage.

Icpak chairman Julius Mwatu said going by the country’s Sh3 trillion budget in the current financial year, it is a clear demonstration that the current Constitution is expensive for the country.

He argued that the swelling budget was reason enough for Kenyans to take a step back and ask themselves whether the current law is efficient in terms of leadership representation at various levels in the country.

“We are basing our comments on the report issued by the Auditor General in 2016, it is clear that the country is overrepresented in the leadership positions from MCAs, to Members of Parliament,  senators and governors,” said the Icpak boss. Mwatu said constitutional change is also necessary to address the current duplication of roles in the civil service.

“We also need to look at other areas apart from the area of representations, because when we talk of Sh3 trillion budget, I don’t think the bigger portion is consumed by political leaders that are being recommended for removal. There are other areas where we can save on costs that includes the civil service where we can interrogate and see if we are getting the value for money,” he said.

In the light of the above, he said it is imperative for the country to take stock of the civil service.Mwatu said Kenyan representatives are among the highest paid even more than those in advanced economies.

He detailed out a raft of recommendations including capping of salaries and remuneration paid to public officers, among other proposals which he said should be considered if the Constitution is to be viable.

“Kenya should review its representation without compromising national values and diversity protection of marginalised groups and the vulnerable. The law should review and provide for strong Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC),” Mwatu said.

“To ensure independence of the Judiciary, funds provided in the Constitution should be operationalised. The membership of constitutional commissions should be reduced to a minimum of three and a maximum of five. The law should also strive to manage constitutional offices with similar and overlapping mandates,” he added.

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