Kajiado County Government has pledged to pay all pending bills from contracted services by the end of June this year.
Richard Parsitau who heads a seven-member committee mandated by Governor Joseph Lenku to probe pending bills in the County, asked contractors and suppliers to be patient as his team streamlines all the documentation.
He said the county government would offset pending bills within the stipulated 30 days in line with a directive issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 1, 2019.
On Madaraka Day, President Kenyatta directed all ministries to ensure they clear their pending bills on or before June 30, which is the end of the current fiscal year.
He also urged the county governments to clear pending payments, which he said have negatively impacted on economic growth and crippled businesses.
Paristau admitted that some of the debts were inherited from the defunct Local Authority adding that documentation had been the major impediment to a smooth payout process.
He assured all parties of a workable pay out formula once the committee presents its findings to the Governor in the coming week.
“I urge all of you to be patient and await a positive outcome of this process before close of the current financial year,” he added.
Parsitau further advised all those willing to engage in business with the County Government to ensure a proper inventory of all their documents to facilitate a smoother payment process.
He noted that some contractors had submitted erroneous or expired requisite documents such as tax compliance certificates and this had contributed to delays in payments.
His sentiments were echoed by Daniel Kanchori, a Personal Assitant in the Office of the Governor who said the County Government was determined to clear all pending bills by the end of the financial year.
He advised all contractors to forward all the requisite documents through the committee to the relevant departments for perusal to await further action on payments.
“Once all documents are certified and are satisfactory we will pay accordingly,” he said.
For the longest time contractors in Kajiado had lamented at the haphazard payments made by the County Government on delivered projects and services since the onset of devolution.
The situation they said had negatively impacted on their businesses as some had to close up shop due to accrued debts and high interest rates from their creditors who are mostly financial lending institutions.
“The unending bureaucracy at the finance and procurement departments at the county headquarters have further led to delays in my payments two years after delivering services to the County,” lamented a tree seedlings supplier at the meeting.
Contractors said it was in bad taste for the County Government to make piece meal payments yet they had satisfactorily delivered their end of the bargain.
“It is crude for the County to float public tenders without consideration of the payout modalities once they have been awarded,” said a contractor.
The aggrieved parties requested the relevant offices in the County Government to Fast track the payment process in view of the fact that some had spilled over from the previous government.
During the meeting at the Maasai Technical Training Institute, MTTI, members of public were also given an opportunity to share their views with the committee on the state of the completed projects in their Wards.
They highlighted that some of the projects had been shoddily done with visible cracks on some buildings and impassable roads that got even worse during the rainy seasons due to poor workmanship.
The Committee agreed to recommend among others a systemic feedback channel where contractors can track the progress of their payments, an adherence to the service charter by officers in the key departments adversely mentioned and a fully operational accounting system that can track payments and flag any pending bills for consideration.
The current financial year comes to a close at the end of June and it is hoped that all pending bills will be factored and resolved by then.
By Rop Janet