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Economy

Nairobi County, NYS suppliers to wait longer for payment

 Ukur Yatani
Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Firms under investigation for corruption and those that supplied Nairobi County are set to wait longer for cash even as the State steps up clearance of pending bills.

Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani said about Sh13 billion historical pending bills linked to the National Youth Service (NYS) and the Prisons Department have not been paid.

Similarly, payment of Sh13 billion owed to Nairobi County suppliers has not been settled, and it has been made worse by the transfer of core functions to the national government.

“Historical pending bills had challenges of lack of budget and litigations. The Sh13 billion that we have not paid are about situations where we have cases … we could not proceed because the matters are with other institutions of government,” Mr Yatani said.

The Treasury has been pushing for clearance of pending bills that have seen supplier debts for 2018/2019 reduced from Sh14 billion to Sh400 million.

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Historical pending bills that amounted to Sh43 billion have also reduced by Sh29 billion.

County governments owed Sh80 billion in pending bills out of which the Auditor General cleared Sh58 billion for payment; until now Sh45 billion has been paid out.

The roads sector had pending bills of more than Sh80 billion and some contractors had abandoned sites because of non-payment.

“We made special arrangements and borrowed from the local market just to pay them to proceed. Last week, we had released Sh33 billion and this week we are going to release the same amount so that at least this construction continues because the multiplier effect in economy will be huge,” Mr Yatani said.

The Treasury has put up a spirited fight to have suppliers paid on time, sparking resistance from counties to court after Mr Yatani withheld funds in a push to have them settle outstanding bills.

“For the counties, I insisted I will not release their funds if they do not pay, they went to court. The matter is still in court but we said we were not going to release funds until they either pay or give us a plan of how they will pay every month and subsequent disbursements will depend on how you have paid out the other bills,” Mr Yatani said.

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