Taxman shakes off poll anxiety to grow revenue to Sh317bn

Mr John Njiraini, the KRA commissioner- general. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Mr John Njiraini, the KRA commissioner- general. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has shrugged off the prolonged electoral politics to grow the July-September tax collection by 9.8 per cent.

Official data published on Thursday shows the agency netted a total of Sh317.4 billion or Sh28 billion more than the Sh289.03 billion realised in the same period of 2016/17.

That pace of growth is however lower than a 12 per cent rate recorded in the same period last year when tax revenues leapt from the Sh257.92 billion in the 2015/16 fiscal year.

The performance also falls below the quarterly target for an agency which has a daunting task of netting a total of Sh1.499 trillion by June next year.

Last month, Reuters quoted Treasury Principal Kamau Thugge saying the performance to Mid-September was Sh29 billion below the official targets assigned by the National Treasury.

The Thursday data also shows that government departments, which are expected to raise Sh49.9 billion by end of the financial year, generated Sh3.51 billion between July and September.

The country is grappling with a prolonged electoral process after the Supreme Court cancelled the August 8 presidential poll results on September 1, citing violation of laws and procedures.

All affected

From street vendors to high-end retail outlets, hospitality facilities and manufacturing establishments– which pay the bulk of taxes, have been reporting losses linked to heightened political activities.

Banks, have for instance, reported reduced borrowing, hospitality facilities have complained of high-profile event cancellations while some manufacturers have had to scale down on production due to political uncertainty.

“The business sectors which have been adversely affected include transport, manufacturing, retail and hospitality sectors,” says the Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry chairman Kiprono Kittony.

In public sector, most of the government programmes have been put on hold as the ruling coalition intensifies campaigns for October 26 repeat polls amid street protests by the Opposition which is demanding electoral reforms.

National Treasury secretary Henry Rotich said in the Statement of Actual Revenues and Net Exchequer Issues as at September 29, that the government had by end of the quarter, borrowed a total of Sh46.82 billion from the domestic market.

Another Sh7.35 billion was borrowed from foreign governments and organisations, the official report shows.

Over the period, the State also received a budget support of Sh530 million, foreign grants worth Sh229.81 million and an additional Sh100 million cash disbursement from the United Nations in support of troops fighting al Shabaab in Somalia.

Overall, the government received in its coffers a total of Sh408.14 billion to runs its affairs between July and September.

The government which is currently implementing phased salary increments for civil servants also has to resolve nurses’ strike which has entered four months