Move to clear unpaid bills commendable
National Treasury’s bold plan to clear the massive backlog of pending bills owed by the Government to contractors and suppliers is a move that deserves commendation.
Rising debts, which amount to a staggering Sh641 billion, have been a significant concern, depressing the economy while undermining the credibility of the government while causing distress to the affected parties. Treasury’s commitment to addressing this issue is crucial towards enhancing accountability, fostering economic stability, and restoring confidence in the government’s financial management.
Formation of a multi-agency team, as proposed by the Treasury, is a promising approach with officials from various bodies such as the Treasury, Auditor General, Ministry of Roads, Public Works and Housing, Public Procurement Regulatory Authority, and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission chairing the initiative.
The team will not only bring together diverse expertise to comprehensively review the pending bills and devise an effective strategy for their clearance but also ensure payments are paid according to priority. Treasury’s commitment to formulating a supplementary budget to clear all outstanding bills signifies a willingness to rectify the situation and fulfil its obligations.
Outcry in the private sector, with many investors saying they cannot get loans to deliver services to the government since it takes years to get paid should now be a thing of the past if the team works well. Additionally, the involvement of professional organisations like the Law Society of Kenya, Institution of Engineers of Kenya, and Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya ensures the process will benefit from their specialised knowledge and experience.
If successful, this money could help to spur liquidity in the market and help to create jobs and boost the private sector activities. It is important to note that timely payment to contractors and suppliers is not only a matter of ethical responsibility but also a means to support the economy by fostering growth, job creation, and attracting investments.
By allocating funds specifically for this purpose, the government is sending a positive signal to the business community and reinforcing its commitment to fair and transparent financial practices.