Wetang'ula asks ICPAK to advise MPs on budgeting

National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula, Auditor General Nancy Gathungu and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) chairperson Philip Kakai (right) taking a selfie during the ICPAK's 41st Annual Seminar at Sarova Whitesands in Mombasa County on Tuesday, May 21, 2024. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Accountants have been challenged to engage the National Assembly on the Finance Bill, 2024, and offer advise on financial debates.

Speaker Moses Wetang’ula asked the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) to guide the Committee on Finance and National Planning on the implications of the proposed tax measures.

Speaking yesterday in Mombasa during the association’s annual conference, Wetang’ula said the Accountants Act spells out the role of ICPAK to advise the Cabinet Secretary on financial accountability in all sectors of the economy.

The Speaker asked the accountants to suggest ways of lowering the cost of living while reducing the public debt.

“This in my view would be a direct contribution by the profession to the national growth and development of the country as sound taxation laws are certainly a catalyst to the economic development of a country,” he said.

He noted that the country was undergoing economic challenges that require efforts to resolve. “Our country is currently operating in a tight fiscal environment characterized by huge public borrowing and a ballooning foreign debt. In the recent months, we have also experienced global economic shocks, a weakening shilling, high inflation and cost of living, increase in prices of fuel and local commodities,” said Wetang’ula.

Equitable revenue stalemate

The Speaker said the Budget and Appropriations Committee is also grappling with the deadlock on equitable share of revenue, with the National Assembly proposing Sh391 billion and the Senate Sh415 billion.

“This has been a recurring issue in each financial year. The accountant profession, which has many experts on economic matters, can advise on how the Legislature can create a balance between ensuring adequate financing of county governments amidst a tight fiscal environment.”

He said most of the audit queries that are flagged out by the Auditor-General have been on issues relating to unclear financial reporting and misappropriation of funds. 

ICPAK chairman, Philip Kakai, urged the government to the National Tax Policy and apply it in the Finance Bill to help achieve a balanced approach to the 2024/2025 Budget.

“I can confirm that the institute has already committed the National Treasury Budget team to review the Finance Bill FY 2024/25 proposals. We will also be making submissions to Parliament soon. We are putting together a team of experts who will help in the pre-and post-budget budget analysis to assist Wanjiku in understanding the budget and its implications for her life,” he said.