Defunct NMS and NYS top list of pending bills holders

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One of the projects by the defunct Nairobi Metropolitan Services. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The defunct Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) and the National Youth Service (NYS) top the list of ministries, State departments, and State Agencies (MDAs) with the highest pending bills.

According to new disclosures by the National Treasury, which offer a breakdown of National government unsettled dues, NMS and NYS had pending bills totalling Sh14.5 billion and Sh11.6 billion respectively as of the end of June last year.

The State Department for Crop Development heads the list of State Departments with the highest pending bills at Sh16 billion.

Other ministries and agencies with the highest amounts include the Ministry of Defence with arrears of Sh9.7 billion, the State Department for the arid and semi-arid lands, and regional development with Sh8.6 billion in outstanding bills.

Ironically, the National Treasury makes the top list of pending bill offenders with arrears of Sh6.7 billion as of the end of June. The exchequer has decried inaction by various government entities on pending bills despite previous directives to treat the arrears as a first charge.

“Despite numerous circulars and directives by the National Treasury requiring ministries, departments, and agencies, State corporations to prioritise payment of pending bills and the requirement that pending bills should form the first charge of the budget, the level of compliance has been very low,” the National Treasury stated.

MDAs had Sh123.9 billion in pending bills as of the end of June last year.

State corporations and semi-autonomous government agencies meanwhile bear a larger outstanding bills footprint with outstanding amounts over the same period totalling Sh443.8 billion to leave the total unpaid national government bills at Sh567.7 billion at the end of June 2023.

The bulk of the arrears by State corporations and semi-autonomous government agencies or Sh159 billion are owed to project contractors.

A further Sh42.5 billion represents arrears relating to land compensation for projects while Sh43.1 billion is owed to other contracted services.

Outstanding national government bills have, however, eased slightly since the end of June last year to Sh539.9 billion as of December 31, 2023, pointing to some partial payments.

The exchequer is betting on the verification of the arrears and an investigation into their causes to address the significant amounts.

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