What you need to know:
- The National Treasury last year acknowledged that some Sh227 billion was owed to suppliers by both levels of government.
- Thirdway Alliance leader- Dr Ekuru Aukot now says the party will move to court, to assist the suppliers get their dues.
- The affected counties are Taita Taveta, Turkana, Kisumu, Meru, Samburu, Nakuru, Muranga, Mandera, Kisii and Busia.
Sixteen devolved units have fully paid their pending bills amounting to Sh32.93 billion as at March 6, the Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o said.
This comes in the wake of a legal suit threat against the national and county governments, to settle with interest, more than Sh227 billion owed to suppliers as accrued pending bills.
The National Treasury last year acknowledged that some Sh227 billion was owed to suppliers by both levels of government.
Thirdway Alliance leader- Dr Ekuru Aukot now says the party will move to court, to assist the suppliers get their dues.
“We intend to institute a suit against the government and attach its assets until it settles these bills with interest. We fear that failure by the government to settle these debts, is killing the economy and making Kenyans more desperate,” Dr Aukot said.
A special audit of the county governments as at June 30, 2018 listed Sh88.98 billion in pending bills.
Form the amount, Sh51.2 billion which accounted for 58 per cent was cleared as payable while Sh37.7 billion lacked sufficient documentations to support services rendered.
Counties which have cleared their eligible pending bills are Baringo, Elgeyo Markwet, Embu, Homa Bay, Kajiado, Kitui, Kilifi, Kwale, Laikipia, Makueni, Nyamira, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kakamega, Uasin Gishu and Lamu.
“The National Treasury recognises your effort and consistency in settling of your eligible pending bills. The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to commend your county government for having prioritised and fully paid all eligible pending bills as per the Special Audit by the Auditor General,” National treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ukur Yatani said in a circular dated March 10.
A circular released by the National Treasury dated December 5, 2019 indicated that 20 counties will have their conditional grants withheld over failure to pay the pending bills.
The affected counties are Taita Taveta, Turkana, Kisumu, Meru, Samburu, Nakuru, Muranga, Mandera, Kisii and Busia.
Others are Marsabit, Bungoma, Siaya, Trans Nzoia, Kitui, West Pokot, Embu, Kakamega, Wajir and Lamu.
Mr Yatani referred the affected counties to another circular dated October 22, 2019 that provided all the county governments with guidelines on settling the pending bills.
“As you may recall, during the meeting of Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) on June 8, it was resolved that the National Treasury would release at least Sh65 billion to counties, to enable them settle the eligible pending bills,” said Mr Yatani said.
He added: “In relation to the ineligible pending bills, IBEC through a resolution dated June 18, 2019 instructed all the county governments to establish Ineligible Pending Bills Committee to verify the bills. Once verified, it was resolved that they should be prioritised and paid promptly.”
The CS said the ministry played its part but noted that a report by the Controller of Budget shows that some counties did not comply with the IBEC resolution.
Last December, the National Development Coordination and Communication Committee chaired by Interior CS Fred Matiang’i warned county governments against giving unnecessary excuses about pending bills despite getting funds from the national government.
“We will use all lawful means to ensure that pending bills are paid and we are not going to budge. It is not fair to treat our people the way the county governments are doing. Those pending bills must be paid,” Dr Matiang’i said.
He accused governors of prioritising buying big cars for themselves instead of paying bills to suppliers who offered them services.
The Interior CS disclosed that the national government had already paid Sh9 billion, part of its pending bills.