I AM NOT ASHAMED OF WHAT WE HAVE ACHIEVED- GOVERNOR NYONG'O
In an editorial in the Daily Nation on May 12 (“Counties must pay bills”), a claim was made to the effect that Kisumu County is one of the counties “in the list of shame which have failed to pay suppliers their pending bills”.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. The data that we have — and that, no doubt, both the Controller of Budget and the National Treasury have — will demonstrate that this is an allegation against Kisumu that needs to be withdrawn. Let me elaborate.
Soon after I assumed office as governor of Kisumu in September 2017, prima facie evidence showed us that we had pending bills of close to Sh3.5 billion.
After an internal audit that we carried out, this figure was reduced to Sh2.8 billion. The final audit done by the Auditor-General as of June 30, 2018 reduced this figure to Sh2,475,722,125.
This figure, however, differed from that presented by the Controller of Budget, which was Sh2,047,603,022.
After the subsequent special audit by the Auditor-General that followed, Kisumu’s eligible pending bills debt was finally settled at Sh1,792,200,077.
A sum of Sh683,522,048 was found ineligible by the Auditor-General. Of the eligible pending bills, the county had paid Sh1,009,944,318 as of June 30, 2018, leaving Sh782,255,759 pending.
In the last financial year, 2018/2019, we paid Sh165 million, leaving a balance of Sh617 million. This was a particularly difficult year for us, since we did not receive close to 75 per cent of the money we expected from the national government to support the piloting of the universal health coverage (UHC).
The Controller of Budget is processing our exchequer to pay pending bills worth Sh330 million. We will then have a balance of Sh287 million.
Out of this, Sh130 million will be paid out as soon as we receive the next disbursements from the National Treasury, leaving a balance of Sh147 million only, which will be included in the next budget.
Finally, the newspaper article ought to have educated the public on the differences between counties in terms of inherited liabilities from previous entities before county governments came into being in 2013.
There is no doubt that counties borne out of previously big-city councils like Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu inherited greater liabilities in pending bills compared to the rest.
This point will help to put matters into proper perspective when looking at pending bills across counties.
As the governor of this county, I am not ashamed of what we have achieved. If anything, I am proud of it because it has been sensible, methodical and with helpful guidance from the two bodies in the national government that matter — the Auditor-General and the Controller of Budget.