Vihiga County government will be forced to slash cash allocated to flagship projects in order to pay pending bills totaling Sh1.8 billion owed to suppliers.
Vihiga County Assembly Implementation Committee Chairperson Eric Odei made the disclosure on Thursday, November 28, 2019 when he briefed the media on efforts to resolve the pending bills problem as demanded by the National Treasury.
On November 19, acting Treasury Cabinet Secretary CS Ukur Yatani sent letters to 15 counties, informing them they would not receive their allocations for failing to settle pending bills owed to suppliers.
The CS revealed that among the counties blacklisted included Nairobi, Machakos, Narok, Vihiga, Isiolo, Tana River, Migori, Tharaka Nithi and Bomet. Others are Kirinyaga, Nandi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Garissa and Baringo.
The letter warned the affected counties had up to December 1, 2019 to comply with the directive to prevent their funds being locked as stipulated in Section 97 of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA).
According to Odei, members of the County Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee were finalizing a second supplementary budget which seeks to raise the Sh1.8 billion in order to beat the December 1 deadline.
“It is plain truth that most of the county’s development projects planned for this financial year would suffer greatly as a huge chunk of cash that had been allocated to them will be slashed,” said Gisambai ward MCA.
The MCA attributed a bigger percentage of the pending bills debt to the previous regime under former Governor Moses Akaranga.
“A bigger percentage of the Sh1.8 billion pending bills debt piled between 2013 and 2017 when the previous regime was in power,” claimed Odei.
He told Vihiga residents not to expect a lot in terms of development as had been planned this financial year.
“The implication is that the county government would realize little in terms of development this financial year because most of earmarked projects are going to be affected with budget cuts as a result of current development,” he explained.