By Peter Opiyo
A scrutiny of tax proposals tabled by Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta in his Budget speech in Parliament has exposed glaring mathematical errors of a variance of Sh251 billion.
During a presentation to Parliamentary Budget Committee, Mars Group exposed the discrepancies that exist on the expenditure and revenue for state corporations.
The estimates tabled by the minister indicate a surplus of Sh87.3 billion, however, computation of the same figures by Mars Group show there is a deficit of Sh163.7 billion.
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State corporations that fall under 31 ministries are tabulated in the estimates projecting a total income of Sh610.2 billion against a total expenditure of Sh774 billion. This brings a deficit of about Sh163 billion, but the estimates indicate it amounts to a surplus of Sh87.3 billion.
Mwalimu Mati and Jayne Mati of Mars Group said the mathematical errors have "real and grave implications on the size of the deficit".
"With the benefit of a calculator, if you add up the numbers in the expenditure annex and revenue laid before the House, you will find that there is a deficit of Sh163.7 million. The Budget shows there is a surplus of Sh87.3 billion but the variance is a staggering Sh251 billion deficit," said Ms Mati.
"What is the reason for this variance? Sir, this committee needs to go through this entire Budget with a toothcomb," she told the Elias Mbau led committee.
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The Group spotted a similar error in the 2010/2011 Budget and the committee picked up the issue.
"It is important to note that there are some anomalies in the estimates of revenue and expenditure for state corporations," she said.
The committee could not officially confirm the figures, as this was the initial appearance of the Group, but indicated that they would come up with their figures and compare.
"I can’t affirm the figures because the Group just presented them. The meeting was not to discuss the figures, but I have a Budget office that is working on the estimates and we are going to come up with our figures," said Mbau. Sources within the committee that are familiar with the Budget process, however, read from the same script as Mars Group.
At the presentation, Mars Group also pointed out that the Ministry of Finance has allocated Sh1.2 billion to repay debts for non-existent Ken-Ren fertiliser manufacturing factory, for a three-year period.
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