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February 21, 2019

Audit unfinished projects before starting new ones

A file photo of Auditor General Edward Ouko. /ENOS TECHE
A file photo of Auditor General Edward Ouko. /ENOS TECHE

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s order freezing expenditure on new projects until old ones are completed has elicited mixed reactions from the public, politicians and experts. On the face of it, this is a sound policy decision to address flagrant wastage of public funds.

The country is littered with hundreds of unfinished projects initiated by different institutions using public funds. They stalled because of changed priorities or lack of feasibility.

In the worst cases — such as those funded from CDF — projects were abandoned with the exit of the MP who initiated them; similar ones began. 

Beside such petty politics are national projects that stalled because either the government ceased funding, a contractor abandoned the site over a dispute or nonpayment. These projects are often subjects of protracted court battles. The President’s directive will not resolve them unless it means closing our eyes to sink funds where much has been squandered without holding responsible parties to account.

As pointed out, the directive was knee-jerk and a wee bit late. It violates the PFM Act and the constitutionally laid-out participatory budgeting process. In the interest of good governance, law and order, the President should set up a task force to review all unfinished projects, establish the underlying reasons and take remedial actions, effective the next financial year. 

Quote of the Day: “If a problem has no solution, it may not be a problem, but a fact – not to be solved, but to be coped with over time.”

Shimon Peres

The former Israeli Prime Minister, President (2007-14) and Nobel laureate (1994) was born on August 2, 1923.

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