Matiang’i, Murkomen clash over counties pending bills

Thursday, December 19th, 2019 00:00 |
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i addresses a press conference accompanied by several Cabinet Secretaries at Harambee House, Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/Tabitha Mbatia

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and Senate majority leader Kipchumba Murkomen yesterday disagreed over the CS’s push for county governments to clear pending bills.

The two differed on the modalities of clearing the bills owed to suppliers and contractors.

Matiang’i asked governors to “stop playing politics” with the lives of small and medium enterprises which they owe millions.
      Murkomen cautioned the county chiefs that they risked being charged by the Director of Public Prosecutions if they made what he called wrong payments.

“They are playing politics with lives of SMEs. They would rather buy vehicles or run motorcades instead of paying SMEs who are owed little money. It is not fair,” Matiang’i said at Harambee House after chairing the National Development Implementation and Communication Committee.

He said Treasury had consistently released full allocation of the equitable share of revenue due to county governments and there was no reason for failure to pending bills.

 “There is no justification why these bills should not be paid. Certainly the excuse should not be that the national government has not released funds,” said Matiang’i.

Unverified bills

He accused some governors of refusing to pay the debts and resorting to excuses, including shifting blame on their predecessors.

“Some governors don’t want to pay pending bills because they were incurred when their predecessors were in office,” he added.

But Murkomen warned against paying unverified bills incurred by their predecessors’ administrations.

“Governors are being forced to pay pending bills incurred by previous colleagues which are unverified. They are facing the danger of being charged by DPP if they make the wrong payments,” he tweeted immediately after Matiang’i issued his statement.

The CS said some suppliers, including people who delivered building materials like sand and stones to county governments three years ago, were yet to be paid.

He said counties would be required to provide monthly status reports on the status of payments which will include an itemised list of all bills paid to contractors.

“All counties with outstanding eligible bills due to suppliers and contractors as at June 2018 and as verified, and confirmed by the Auditor General, should clear the outstanding forthwith,” said the Cabinet Secretary. 

He who was accompanied by Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge and Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakan’go.

In his Madaraka Day address, President Uhuru Kenyatta asked counties to clear all pending bills by the end of the month.

Last week, the National Treasury released Sh11 billion to 18 counties. 

Twelve of the 18 counties have reportedly cleared their pending bills.

They are Elgeyo Marakwet, Homa Bay, Kajiado, Kericho, Kilifi, Kwale, Laikipia, Makueni, Nyamira Nyandarua, Nyeri Uasin Gishu and Baringo counties.

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