Treasury releases Sh43b to counties to clear pending bills

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Treasury CS Ukur Yatani at Parliament buildings in Nairobi. [David Njaaga, Standard]

The National Treasury has disbursed Sh43.5 billion to counties, to clear pending bills up to April 2021.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani in a statement Wednesday urged county bosses to prioritise payments of the pending bills to suppliers along with their statutory dues.

“The payment of these bills will be closely monitored and future transfers weighed against the fulfillment of this important obligation to the private sector, so as to spur economic activity at the county level as part of our ongoing and inclusive Economic Recovery Programme,” Yatani said.

Treasury also says it plans on releasing more monies to counties to clear pending bills for the months of May and June.

The Council of Governors has since dropped their threat to shut down counties following the release of the money.

The CS has in the past acknowledged that the issue of the pending bills was still a challenge not only at the counties but also at the national level.

 “A permanent solution to this problem will lead to resources trickling down to small businesses hence stimulate economic growth,” he said in February this year.

As expected, the monies will be used to clear all pending bills before counties can begin to put into use their budgetary allocation for the Financial Year 2021/22.

Counties got Sh53 billion in the 2021/2022 fiscal year.

The disbursement follows a decision by Senate earlier this month to adopt the County Allocation of Revenue Bill (CARA), 2021, prepared by the National Treasury to give the county assemblies more monies.

Some Sh24.24 billion will go towards salaries, allowances, gratuity, and pensions while Sh8.36 billion will be spent on operations and maintenance.

Counties have had to cut back on costs, put development projects on hold, fire staff and restructure plans to address the huge wage bills.

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