The Institute of Certified Public Accountants (ICPAK) has cast doubt on the success of the government’s Big Four agenda saying this may just be a “dream” if counties continue to depend on revenue allocations from the government.
ICPAK deputy Chairman Denish Osodo, said most devolved units are still reliant on the allocations from the National Treasury, several years after they were instituted, therefore, threatening realisation of governments major development initiatives outlined in the Big Four agenda.
He said counties which will play a big role in realisation of the agendas must come up with their own source of revenue.
“The Constitution empowers county governments to generate revenue from property rates, entertainment taxes and any other tax that is authorised by an Act of Parliament,” he said.
Counties collected Sh32.5 billion in 2017/18 financial year which is 66 per cent of the Sh49.2 billion they had targeted to collect. This was a decline from Sh32.5 billion realised in 2016/17 financial year.
“The counties were not formed as an employment bureau, which just gets money from the government and pays people. They have development functions to perform. If they do not stop depending on the national government then they threaten realisation of development agendas,” said Osodo.
The Institute is now of the opinion that the government should push counties to develop their own revenue generation avenues instead of burdening few individuals and cooperation to meet the cost of the entire country on its mission to reach annual revenue targets.
“The counties are better placed to help seal the tax gap by generating new revenue avenues. They, therefore, need to help the government expand its tax base to relieve citizens from the high taxes imposed on basic commodities,” he added.