MPs call for audit of varsities amid cash crunch
What you need to know:
- The audit will help establish how funds released by the exchequer and those generated internally are used.
- Also to be audited is the Sh10 billion that was disbursed to universities to implement the 2013-2017 CBA.
The National Assembly’s Education Committee has directed the Ministry of Education to conduct a financial audit on expenditures and revenues, including internal control systems, in all public universities.
According to the Committee chaired by Julius Melly (Tinderet MP), the audit will help establish how funds released by the exchequer and those generated internally are used and accounted for by the universities.
In their report, the Committee also wants the State Department for University Education, in collaboration with the National Treasury, to carry out a payroll audit to establish actual numbers of university staff and the cost of their monthly salaries.
The report follows a petition by Universities Academic Staff Union regarding the 2013-2017 and 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).
Universities have been complaining about the meagre resources the government is allocating them with the situation being worsened by declining enrolment of students under the self-sponsored programme.
Also to be audited is the Sh10 billion that was disbursed to universities to implement the 2013-2017 CBA, and which lecturers said was not properly put into use.
The Committee also wants lecturers and the government to commence negotiations on the 2017–2021 CBA and arrive at an indicative offer pending conclusion of a job evaluation exercise by Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
The team also wants public universities to remit their financial statutory obligations to the Kenya Revenue Authority, National Social Security Fund, National Hospital Insurance Fund, Retirement Benefit Schemes, cooperative societies and banks on a regular basis to enhance the welfare and well-being of their employees.
“All vice chancellors of public universities should ensure that they immediately settle all pending arrears for statutory deductions in staff salaries accrued over time.
"Going forward, the vice chancellors should remit all statutory deductions in respect of NSSF, PAYE, NHIF, union dues, bank loan deductions and other contributions to the relevant authorities within the stipulated period as provided for in the relevant legislation and financial regulations to avoid unnecessary penalties and interest and inconveniences caused to the staff members,” the report adds.
It has further directed unions to engage the government directly in the talks and not through Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum.
According to Ministry of Education report released in June, public universities have been deducting workers billions of shillings but not remitting the money to relevant agencies.
The report was ordered by Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and the amount in question is about Sh10 billion.
Universities said they are only paying their staff net salaries due to the financial crisis.
Vice Chancellors Committee chairman Francis Aduol said that even though universities are indicating statutory deductions on payslips running into billions of shillings, they are not remitting the money to the relevant institutions.