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Counties yet to pay suppliers Sh31 billion for projects

By MOSES NYAMORI | August 19th 2015

KAKAMEGA: County governments are yet to pay suppliers Sh31 billion due to lack of capacity to manage the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS), Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya has said.

Mr Oparanya said the e-procurement system is also overwhelmed, leading to constant breakdown.

"County governments are in a crisis. Suppliers have not been paid for the last three months because we were told to adopt e-procurement," he said.

Speaking during an e-procurement overview for county executive members (finance and clerks) in Nairobi Tuesday, Oparanya accused the national government of not helping the devolved units to build capacity.

"Building capacity in the counties is the function of the national government, so they should train our people before stopping flow of funds," said Oparanya, who is the Council of Governors Finance Committee chairman.

"People are forced to travel to the Treasury for logistical problems," he added.

He said apart from not having enough accountants in the counties, staff in the devolved units do not understand e-procurement. He urged the Government to fast-track capacity building for efficient management of financial systems in the counties.

Oparanya said county governments are unable to pay suppliers because transition arrangements between the national and county governments are not well co-ordinated.

All county governments have adopted IFMIS in running their financial systems.

The governor said it was becoming difficult for suppliers to do business with county governments since they do not pay in time.

The IFMIS management has promised to send its officers to the counties to train staff, while Treasury has already trained county finance bosses.

Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge told the county leaders at a workshop in Nairobi that adoption of IFMIS would significantly improve operations and enable them perform effectively.

"You will appreciate the key role you play in ensuring equal opportunities and prompt payment for suppliers and especially the youth, women and persons with disability as you explore the portal," said Dr Thugge.

The Government wants all State agencies to buy goods and services through the electronic procurement and payment platform.

The training will continue in the counties for two months. Treasury also has an IFMIS Academy dedicated to training staff on how to use the system.

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