The County government of Migori has started paying pending bills to contractors for services rendered all the way back to 2015.
According to the Migori contractors’ association, the devolved government owed contractors and suppliers more than Sh.1 billion accrued since 2015.
The association’s Secretary General, Godness Oucho confirmed that a number of their members had started receiving the money in their bank accounts and were happy with the national government for directing counties to clear the debts.
The move to clear the pending bills took effect after the Acting National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yattani issued a directive to county governments to pay up their pending bills and those who will not have paid the contractors and suppliers their accrued bills will have their money taken back to the National Treasury.
Oucho said the contractors have had bad blood with the county finance department over pending bills that have even led to loss of lives to some of the contractors.
The secretary general was speaking during a meeting with Nyali Capital Limited that has come in to cushion the contractors from the hefty bank loans that they always seek from some commercial banks that charge higher interest rates from them and even other customers.
The Nyali Capital Limited Regional Manager, Benson Moseti said that the credit company has come in to help the contractors and other suppliers within the county to get cheap loans and credit from them that they are able to service and pay on time.
He said that the credit company will help them get the best services in the loans and credit and also help them finance their work appropriately.
A number of the local contractors have in the past seen their properties attached by their creditors after failing to repay loans arising from delayed payment of millions of shillings owed by the creditors.
But this week it was all smiles for many of the contractors who visited their banks and found their accounts credited with their owed arrears.
Elisha Otieno, one of the contractors confirmed receiving his money but regretted that the delay had already messed him up financially.
“What I got in my account this morning (an amount he refused to disclose) will all go towards repaying part of the loans I owe my creditors. But thank God the money came when I was almost breaking down due to stress,” he said.
Meanwhile, residents of the county have started feeling the impact of the release of the pending bills to contractors.
One glaring thing that has been noticed since last week is a sharp increase in money circulation in many local towns and markets.
“We have noticed a different trend of economic power in people since the contractors started receiving their arrears from the county government. We can tell that people have money in their pockets and business joints are becoming full and vibrant every day compared to the past days,” remarked Mr. Paul Masese, who runs a hardware shop in Awendo town.
But even local food vendors have not been left out of this by registering high sales in their work places.
Mama Dorcas Omune a fish dealer in Migori town said since Friday last week she has been making good sales apparently as a result of the money paid to the contractors.
“I used to sell between 15 and 30 fish per day but since last Thursday last week, my sales have gone up to between 50 and 70, more than double what I used to sell,” she told the press at her place of work at the main Migori fish markets.
By George Agimba