SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET

Migori MCAs approve Sh1.35bn for pending bills

County risked being denied devolved funds

In Summary

• The budget was unanimously passed on Tuesday. 

• The committee received data from the controller of budget, the special committee of assembly on pending bills and reports from departments.

Migori county assembly
BUDGET: Migori county assembly
Image: MANUEL ODENY

The Migori county assembly has allocated Sh1.35 billion in a supplementary budget for pending bills to allow for further funding from the National Treasury.

Budget and Appropriation Committee chairman Abedi Maroa (Masaba) said part of the bills have been pending from 2013. The budget was unanimously passed on Tuesday.  The committee first sat on October 22 after receiving data from the controller of budget, the special committee of assembly on pending bills and reports from departments.

In October, contractors and suppliers appealed to the county to pay them. Migori has been among the counties that risk losing devolved funds for failing to clear the bills.

"Our focus and emphasis were on paying pending bills. As an assembly, we will want all contractors and suppliers who completed their work, especially the executive wing, are paid," Maroa told the press outside the assembly after the session.

Other allocations include Sh45 million for governor's official residence and Sh25 million for deputy governor's official residence. Several wards have been allocated Sh720 million to help roll out specific projects. The stalled Migori County Stadium will get Sh70 million for completion. Sh52 million will be used to build six new ward offices and complete those that have stalled.

On Monday at a separate event, Senator Ochillo Ayacko urged the National Treasury not to release funds to counties that have not cleared their pending bills. He blamed county governments for delaying payments to contractors and suppliers even after completion of projects.

The senator said a motion will be tabled in the National Assembly and the Senate to ensure funds are released to counties that have cleared their bills. He spoke in Rongo town. 

"It is unfortunate that contractors and suppliers can't meet their financial obligations due to delays in payments. Some have their properties auctioned as they cannot clear their bank loans. Counties must, therefore, restore their confidence by offsetting such bills," Ayacko said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had also urged the county governments to settle the pending bills as businesses continue to grapple with cash flow issues amid a biting credit crunch.

A recent report by Genghis Capital puts pending bills at Sh400 billion, which have been accumulated by counties and the central government over the past few years. A Treasury report to the National Assembly showed that the state owes local traders about Sh29.3 billion, though suppliers insist total pending bills run into hundreds of billions.

(Edited by F'Orieny)