Artisans outraged by government’s failure to pay for desks

Friday, November 27th, 2020 00:00 |
Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha sits on a new Desk at Kereri Girls high school on Friday when he assessed learning and delivery of desks to schools.

Jua Kali artisans who were sourced by the County Directors of Education (CDEs) to assemble desks for primary and secondary schools are up in arms after the government failed to honour its promise to pay them 50 per cent upfront.

Three months since they started assembling the desks, the artisans re yet to receive the 50 per cent adavance payment pledged by the Government.

Furthermore, there are no signs of their payments coming any time soon as the project is now embroiled in utter confusion over whether the exercise should be coordinated by the CDEs or national government  through County Commissioners.

Education officials who have been overseeing the project but sought anonymity for fear of victimisation said dynamics of the project have changed.

The government has set aside Sh1.9 billion under the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) for the supply of the locally assembled furniture to public primary and secondary schools countrywide.

 “When the project was launched, it was supposed to be implemented under the ESP to cushion local artisans adversely affected by effects of Covid-19 but not even the 50 per cent upfront payment has been made despite numerous promises by the Government.

It looks like bureaucracy of some sorts that is hindering processing of their payment,” said on of the senior county education official.

The official also said the Education Principal Secretary Dr Belio Kipsang had issued a circular delegating the accounting function to the county education officials to take charge of the project.

However, the county official said that the situation has seemingly changed and they have been told that payments will be handled from Jogoo House, the education ministry’s headquarters.

“We have been pushed to the wall, the artisans are constantly pushing us to give them their dues but we have nothing to give them, most of the artisans are poor people and struggled to make those desks and now the payment has not been forthcoming,” the official added.

The official also described as ‘tricky’ the situation they have been put into since they had signed forms showing that they are signatories.

Efforts to get comment from Kipsang’ were fruitless as he could neither pick our calls nor respond to short text messages.

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