Twenty more counties have been blacklisted by the Treasury over unpaid bills, sparking protests from the Council of Governors.
This brings to 35 the number of counties Treasury will now withhold cash disbursements to as the government piles pressure on counties to honour payments owed to individuals and firms that did business with them.
According a protest statement released yesterday by the county bosses through the Council of Governors (CoG) chair Wycliffe Oparanya, the governors took issue with additions made to the initial list of 15.
The names of the counties are contained in a Treasury circular dated December 5 by acting National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani addressed to Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, Attorney General Kihara Kariuki and six others.
The affected counties are Taita Taveta, Kisumu, Bungoma, Siaya, Turkana, Meru, Samburu, Nakuru, Muranga, Mandera, Kisii, Busia, West Pokot, Trans Nzoia, Embu, Kakamega, Marsabit, Kitui, Wajir and Lamu.
“As you recall, at the meeting of the Inter-Governmental Budget and Economic Council (IBEC) on June 8, it was resolved that the ministry would release at least Sh65 billion to all counties on or before June 30 to enable settlement of the eligible pending bills in the first instance,” he said in the circular to Oparanya, Devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa and CECs of the affected counties.
The CS justified his decision saying: “As indicated in the earlier circular, the ministry is mandated to intervene at the county level for purposes of expenditure control in cases where the county governments are involved in serious or persistent material breach of the law relating to public financing.”
He instructed the affected counties to provide the ministry with a repayment plan, specifying age and how they intend to clear the pending bills with priority given to earlier years, amounts and details of payees, description of work done or goods or services provided, contract amount, outstanding amount, amount to be paid and the proposed date of settlement of the bills.
In an audit of the pending bills by the office of the Auditor General, as at November 28, Machakos, Nairobi, Mombasa, Narok, Vihiga, Tana River, Kirinyaga Garissa, Turkana, Meru, West Pokot, Homa Bay, Kwale, Kisumu, Kiambu and Nakuru counties each has over Sh1 billion in pending bills.
Nairobi has the highest at Sh19.4 billion, followed by Turkana (Sh4 billion), Mombasa (Sh3 billion) and Nakuru (Sh2 billion).
The governors faulted the CS, saying none of the 47 counties had received the November disbursement.
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