Kiambu governor Kimani Wamatangi has established a formula to clear Sh7 billion debts crippling the county.
Speaking after meeting contractors and suppliers and issuing cheques worth Sh100 million to various suppliers the Governor said the payment brings to Sh600 million the amount cleared since he took office after the August 9 elections.
“I have committed to ensuring that the bills will be cleared indiscriminately,” said the governor. “We also owed permanent staff salary arrears of two months and casual workers five months which I have also cleared.”
He noted that he was proud it was the first time in six years that the county owed no staffer allowance arrears.
Wamatangi announced his administration shall be allocating Sh2 billion annually to pay pending bills while progressively clearing any expenses it will issue to new contractors with 14 days of delivery of goods and services.
“This has been made possible by the stringent measures that I have put in place to safeguard public resources, which includes austerity and taming theft,” Wamatangi told the meeting at the county headquarters.
The governor said the new debt payment discipline will ensure the county government doesn’t sink further into debts.
“As your governor, we acknowledge and apologise that the suffering you have undergone being our suppliers and contractors was completely unnecessary,” said Wamatangi.
He expressed sympathy with suppliers and contractors saying many had stories of anguish and sorrow caused by delayed payments.
He singled out corruption as the biggest threat to the county coffers saying one department may have paid over Sh900 million while a senior officer has admitted the genuine contracts only totalled to Sh175 million.
“That could have been Sh800 million loss in one year by a single department,” said Wamatangi.
The governor also announced that his austerity measures include suspension of county meetings in hotels saying some county employees had even nicknamed a tent at the county headquarters “Naivasha” as the new venue for internal meetings by county staff.
Other austerity measures include stoppage of contracted routine hospitality services such as supply of tea and snacks and benchmarking trips.
Wamatangi also announced rationalisation of new employment saying he was alarmed that the county wage bill has risen from Sh2 billion annually at the start of devolution in 2013 to Sh7 billion currently.
Mburu Kangethe, Finance CEC, when he came in, the issue of pending bills was an animal in the house.
“The other animal in the house was own source revenue which substantially went down.,” Said Mr Kangethe.
He added that the national Treasury owned the county Sh2 billion in equitable share.
According to the governor, huge unpaid debts had taken down the county credit image to an all time low to a point where suppliers and contractors had started shunning it’s tenders with no one applying when advertisements were out.
BY GOVERNORS PRESS SERVICE