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Nairobi County unable to pay suppliers after doubling its payroll costs

By Josphat Thiong'o | July 28th 2016
Nairobi Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke

The county government will not pay contractors and suppliers unless the national government increases this financial year's allocation.

The Standard established that some contractors have not been paid since 2013, leading to numerous protests and sabotage.

Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke said the county government was set to receive an allocation of Sh16.42 billion from the national government, which will form part of the county's Sh35 billion budget. In the 2015-16 financial year, the county was allocated Sh13.8 billion.

"If you want the contractors to be paid, let the national government add the county money because what we receive is not enough to cater for service delivery and management of county affairs," said Mr Mueke.

The deputy governor said the county government inherited a workforce of more than 7,000 and has since employed nearly a similar number, putting a huge strain on the county's finances.

This, Mueke said, had pushed the wage bill from Sh650 million per month to Sh1.1 billion. Mueke said the county receives Sh14 billion from the national government for salaries.

The finance department had been under pressure to pay contractors. Mueke said non-payment of suppliers had hindered service delivery, with the environment sector being the most affected.

Private garbage contractors are owed Sh40 million, which explains the dire garbage situation in the city. To make matters worse, most of the 50 county government garbage collection trucks have broken down.

In January, Kiambu and Kajiado counties warned Nairobi against dumping in their territories. Kajiado Governor David Nkedienye and Kiambu Deputy Governor Gerald Githinji said dumping of garbage from their neighbouring county had become a thorn in their flesh, adding that they would not take it anymore.

The two counties revealed that they had set up a team of enforcement officers to ensure no garbage from Nairobi was dumped in their territories. Kiambu Environment Executive Esther Njuguna said they had already arrested some drivers from Nairobi and impounded their trucks.

Also on the receiving end is the health docket, which owes the Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) Sh108 million.

Matumishi Wireless Services is also owed Sh10 billion. The firm was contracted to install street lights.

Contractors for last year's beautification of the city in the wake of US President Barack Obama's visit have also not been paid.

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