Defence ministry tops in unpaid bills, audit shows

Tuesday, September 10th, 2019 00:00 |
Former Auditor General Edward Ouko says failure to settle the bills affects subsequent budgets. Photo/PD/SAMUEL KARIUKI

The office of the Auditor General has raised concern over the fast-rising pending bills incurred by various ministries and government departments.

In a new report signed by former Auditor General Edward Ouko, as at June last year, the pending bills stood at Sh46.53 billion up from Sh16.71 billion recorded in 2017.

The Ministry of Defence has the highest number of pending bills valued at Sh12.6 billion, followed by State Department for Correctional Services Sh6.2 billion, State Department for Interior Sh4.84 billion, Ministry of Health Sh4.4 billion, State Department for Broadcasting and Telecommunication Sh3.2 billion and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sh2 billion.

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has pending bills totalling to Sh1.75 billion, State Department for University Education Sh1.31 billion, State Department for Environment Sh1 billion, State department for Agriculture Sh1 billion, State Department for Public Service and Youth Affairs Sh967.4 million and State Department for Housing and Urban Development Sh873.2 million.

In a summary report for the national government, Ouko expressed concern that the Sh46.53 billion is the highest amount of pending bills reported in the last three financial years.

In the 2016/17 financial year, pending bills stood at Sh16.71 billion, in the 2015/16 financial year the bills were Sh20.5 billion, in the 2014/15 financial year the bills were Sh 43.2 billion while in the 2013/14 financial year, the bills stood at Sh16.63 billion.

In the report, the auditor general raised concern that pending bills of the previous year are not factored in during the formulation of the budget for the subsequent year and thus the subsequent year’s budget is always insufficient to honour unpaid commitments made during the previous year as well as fund the programmes for a current year.

 “Failure to settle the bills during the year they are incurred adversely affects the subsequent year’s budgeted programmes as it may lead to a reallocation of funds or non-delivery of critical services,” says the report.

On unsupported expenditure, auditor general revealed that during the year under review, the unsupported expenditure for 23 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) stood at Sh16.6 billion.

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