Agitated contractors from Garissa who are owed by the County Sh1.9 billion in pending bills have chided Senator Yussuf Haji for failing to speak out on their plight.
Addressing the press at a Garissa hotel, the 20 contractors drawn from across the seven sub-counties said Senator Haji is yet to comment on the pending bills dispute, despite their numerous pleas for him to intervene.
Speaking on behalf of the contractors, Ajib Yussuf said that Senators from other counties have been putting pressure on their governors to account for funds allocated to them but Haji has never uttered a word on the same.
“Our Senator should stop hiding behind BBI that he chairs by turning a blind eye on the plight of the people who elected him. We want him to publicly state his position on the bills,” Ajib said.
Majority of the contractors offered their services during the previous regime.
The contractors said that they are aware the county has received over Sh700 million to settle pending bills and demanded every penny of the money be paid to them.
“We have witnessed in the past where such monies are paid to undeserving contractors,” Ajib said.
Mohamed Ali said that most of them are unable to pay school fees for their children while others risk having their properties auctioned for failing to repay loans they took from financial institutions.
“Most of us you see here are barely surviving with auctioneers threatening to auction our properties including the houses we live in. Surely did it have to get to this,” Ali said.
The contractors further urged Treasury to withhold further funding to the County if it failed to settle the pending bills.
Last year, Governor Ali Korane said his administration “was not in a hurry to pay pending bills it inherited from the previous administration”.
Treasury CS Ukur Yattani said they had noted with concern that departments and agencies in both the national and county governments have persistently failed to pay their outstanding bills.
Yattani said that delayed payments have led to a deterioration of the financial positions of businesses and SMEs with a consequent negative impact on the economy.
The CS said that the treasury will withhold funds for 21 counties among them Garissa for failing to pay pending bills
By Jacob Songok