Machakos governor Dr Alfred Mutua has blamed government finance officials for delayed processing of payments to individuals and companies, hence rendering Kenyans broke.
In a clip shared on social media, Dr Mutua says that the officers take their time to process payments, depending on the recipient and kickbacks involved.
“There is no money in the country because public servants supposed to process things process at their own time,” said Mutua.
Mutua says that efforts by authorities to push for payments have been hindered by formation of cartels in both the county and national governments, where the involved officers meet in hotels to determine how payments will be done.
“When we push you to process things ndo vitu zilipwe ndo things move on, mnaita kamkunji hapa mnaanza kuwa na cartels mnakutana hapa town. ‘Sasa hii ni ya nani, who is benefiting from this one, mbona anasukuma hii‘ (When we push for payments so that things move smoothly you convene meetings and form cartels in town. You ask whose payment is this and who is benefiting and why is it being pushed),” said Mutua.
According to Mutua, the cartels are also affecting employees of the county and national governments, whose payments and allowances are processed at a very slow pace.
“Mtu anaapply for leave ama allowance, anaaply for a facility in the county inakua ni ngumu kupata. Lazima niulize hawa watu walikua casuals ama on contract, contract zimeisha, wako na watoto, wamefungiwa nyumba. (Somebody applies for leave or a facility in the county but it is hard to get. I must ask since these people have been casuals or on contract in the county and their contracts have expired, they have children and their houses have been closed) They are county employees, they have been here. Yes there is no board, (but) can’t we pay them? Can’t we find a way? Unless I push nobody seems to care,” he adds.
On November 12, it was reported that President Uhuru Kenyatta put to task his advisors to explain why Kenyans are broke during a meeting at State House.
“The President wondered where all the money being used to construct government projects is going. In fact, he specifically asked us the question: Why are people broke; why is it that there is no money in their pockets?” an official reported to be a parastatal head was quoted by a local publication.
It is reported that most parastatals and government agencies use money meant to pay contractors to invest in treasury bills (T-bills), instead of making payments.
T-bills are short-term loans to the government that come back with interest.
As of July, the central government owed suppliers and contractors more than Ksh65 billion for the 2018-19 financial year, with only Ksh25 billion being paid between June and November.
According to a report by the Controller of Budget (COB), counties owe suppliers and contractors at least Ksh34.54 billion as at June this year.
Counties that reported the highest amount of pending bills were Mombasa (Ksh4.02 billion), Kwale (Ksh2.66 billion) and Kiambu (Ksh2.53 billion).
The amount that remains unpaid by counties could be more, as according to the Controller of Budget, five counties had not submitted the status of their pending bills by the time it compiled the report for the financial year 2018/2019. These are Isiolo, Mandera, Marsabit, Nairobi and West Pokot.
In September 2019 the National Treasury estimated that county governments owed private sector over Ksh100 billion as of February this year.
“The stock of county pending bills were estimated to be in excess of Ksh100 billion as at end of February 2019, of which Ksh40.5 billion was found to be eligible for immediate payment,” said Treasury.