Debts headache for artisans as State yet to pay for new desks

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 00:00 |
Youths contracted to make the new-look desks for a school in Nyandarua County. Photo/PD/File

When the government announced the Sh1.9 billion primary and secondary schools desks, lockers and chairs programme, excitement greeted James Munyua, a resident of Kimunyu village in Gatundu South.

Kuria, who has been working as a small-scale contractor, said he, alongside his partner, moved with speed to secure loans from friends and financial institutions after the government awarded him a contract to deliver desks to four local schools.

The Ministry of Education officials, he said, assured them that the government would pay them 50 per cent to commence construction works.

Optimistic that the assurance was real, he continued to execute the contract and purchased all the requisite materials and embarked on his work.

He delivered the first batch of desks to Kimunyu Primary School, hoping the government would disburse the initial payments.

Munyua, who has also done 90 percent of desks, however, lamented that the government is yet to make any payments, including the one for the schools he already delivered.

“We were given acknowledgement letters by teachers to indicate that we delivered the desks. As we speak, the desks are being used by learners but we are yet to receive any payment,” decried Kuria.

Kuria says his workshop is currently filled with incomplete carpentry materials, because they have run out of money.

“Our strength is gone. We are currently stuck on the next move,” he said.

Kuria, who had given his logbook as collateral to secure loan from shylocks is at the verge of being auctioned after his lenders issued him with auction letters.

The artisan, who is among hundreds of carpenters who got the government contracts, has appealed to the government to make prompt payment interventions to ensure they are not auctioned.

However, Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha has attributed the delay in payments to sluggish Safaricom’s Mpesa system.

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