The government has cumulatively released Sh151.4 billion to all counties as at February 14, Treasury minister has said.
Treasury and National Planning Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani in an update on status of pending bills released Friday said that the counties had received Sh8.09billion as conditional grants in the current financial year.
He said as at June 30, 2018 out of Sh88.98 billion pending bills presented for audit to the Office of the Auditor General, bills amounting Sh51.2 billion which translates to 58 percent were reported as payable.
However, bills amounting to Sh37 billion which translates to Sh42 percent lacked sufficient documentation to support services rendered or work done and therefore were not recommended for payment.
The CS revealed that as at February 10, the amount of eligible pending bills was Sh31.5 8 billion or 61.6 percent leaving an outstanding balance of Sh19.71 billion.
However, despite the government releasing billions of shillings to clear the pending bills, only 16 counties out of 47 have cleared all eligible pending bills as verified by the Office of Auditor General.
The counties which have been given a clean bill of health include Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet, Embu, Homa Bay, Kajiado, Kericho, Kilifi, Kitui, Kwale, Laikipia, Makueni and Nyamira. Others are Nyandarua, Nyeri, Uasin Gishu and Lamu counties.
At least nine other counties which include Nakuru, Taita Taveta, Tana River, Trans Nzoia, Machakos, Bungoma, Kakamega, Murang’a and Kisii have have made substantial payments plant of settling the balance by March 30.
According to Mr Yatani eight county governments which include Nandi, Marsabit, Kiambu, Meru, Kisumu, Tharaka-Nithi, Mombasa and Busia have given payment proposals indicating that they will clear all eligible pending bills by the end of June.
However, suppliers in 14 counties of Turkana, Garissa, Wajir, Narok, Nairobi, West Pokot, Siaya, Kirinyaga, Bomet, Isiolo, Mandera, Samburu, Migori and Vihiga will have to wait a little longer before their outstanding debts running into billions are cleared.
“The 14 counties were requested to revise their initial payment plans after the release of the November/ December 2019 disbursement. They also undertook to review their budgets through a supplementary to provide for the pending amount,” explained Mr Yatani.
Apart from the counties, the CS also released an updated status on payment of pending bills by national government ministries, departments and agencies.
According to Mr Yatani the national government had a pending bill of Sh15 billion out of which Sh12.5 billion have been paid by various ministries, departments and agencies in the last four months.
“The affected national government departments are now in the process of revising their budgets to settle the remaining Sh2.5 billion by March 31,” said Mr Yatani.
The new development comes after the long pending bills were referred to multi-agency team for scrutiny and review.
The government had issued a warning to county governors that they risk to be jailed if their fail to clear the pending bills following President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive last year that all devolved units should clear the pending bills without further delay.
“The team has made necessary recommendations for immediate implementation by the concerned organisation and Treasury is now proceeding to the implementation phase,” observed Mr Yatani.
The CS assured suppliers across the country that the National Treasury is closely monitoring the progress of payment of pending bills on a daily basis to ensure that the directive of Cabinet is implemented and the matter is brought to a logical conclusion.
“I wish to assure the various private companies and other entities that government will safeguard their interest by enforcing timely payment bills as a matter of absolute necessity,” Mr Yatani said.