Poor planning blamed for pending bills in devolved units

Wednesday, August 28th, 2019 00:00 |
Kenya’s first Controller of Budget (CoB) Dr Agnes Odhiambo

Antony Mwangiand Hillary Mageka

The immediate former Controller of Budget (CoB) Agnes Odhiambo has attributed the high pending bills accumulated by county governments to their failure to effectively align their procurement plans to cash flow plans.

Contractors and suppliers are owed more than Sh108.41 billion in pending bills by county governments in the 2017/18 financial year. 

“The figures could be more since the last audit was done a year ago,” Odhiambo said in her exit report released on Monday.

Improve welfare

“County governments should ensure effective management of pending bills by aligning procurement plans to cash flow projections as well as ensuring that their budgets consider pending bills as a first charge before any new projects,” she said in her end of term (2011-19) report. 

The CoB blamed the National Treasury for contributing to swelling debt accrued by counties by continuously delaying disbursement of funds.

 “The National Treasury should disburse funds to the counties in line with the County Allocation of Revenue Act (Cara), 2017 Disbursement Schedule to enhance effective budget implementation,” she said.

She accused the National Treasury of delaying release of funds, which has led to low-level of development expenditure by county governments.

“The CoB, therefore, recommends that counties should prioritise implementation of development projects to improve the welfare of its citizens,” said the CoB. 

She cited political interference and graft as some factors that undermine the oversight role of county assemblies. 

Odhiambo added that some MCAs have inadequate skills to oversight budget preparation and implementation.

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