Counties yet to pay over Sh100 billion of pending bills

The business community has renewed calls for county governments to settle the over Sh100 billion owed to them in pending bills.

Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) President Richard Ngatia said Friday while the National Government had cleared its share of cash owed to the private sector, counties are yet to pay up.

“I cannot give an exact figure. I can only give an estimate because at the time we were negotiating it was over Sh100 billion. I am not sure whether that has reduced since,” he said. 

Mr Ngatia was speaking during the launch of the Kenya Business Awards where 17 Small and Medium Enterprises and government agencies will be feted in different categories in December.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta has also called on the county governments to settle the pending bills as businesses continue to grapple with cash flow issues amid a biting credit crunch. 

“The only prayer that we have as the Kenya National Chambers is that once the county governments receive the money from the national government, let it go to the intended use,” said Mr Ngatia.

A recent report by Genghis Capital puts pending bills at Sh400 billion, which have been accumulated by counties and the central government over the last few years. Official estimates are, however, unavailable, with the Controller of Budget as of June this year putting counties’ and the national government’s debt to suppliers at more than Sh200 billion.

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A Treasury report to the National Assembly showed that the State owes local traders about Sh29.3 billion, though suppliers insist total pending bills run into hundreds of billions.

“The latest Quarterly Economic and Budgetary Report cites Sh29.3 billion as the pending bill in 2017/18 financial year. However, this amount does not consider cumulative pending bills of the previous years and the on-going bills in the current fiscal year,” said Churchill Ogutu, senior research analyst at Genghis Capital in an earlier analysis.  

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KNCCIRichard NgatiaKenya National Chamber of Commerce and IndustryBudget