Pending bills team must be all inclusive
Concerns raised by the Controller of Budget regarding composition of a committee tasked with auditing pending bills raises fundamental issues about transparency and accountability in public finance management.
This demands attention as it has far-reaching implications for individuals, businesses, and overall functioning of government institutions and economy in general.
The committee has come under scrutiny primarily due to exclusion of essential agencies responsible for overseeing the prudent utilisation of taxpayer funds. This highlights the pressing need for an all-encompassing audit process that includes key stakeholders in public finance management. Such inclusivity is imperative because it can significantly influence the financial well-being of traders and ensure efficient operation of government institutions.
President William Ruto approved the committee in June aimed to address government liabilities spanning from 2005 to 2022. The current committee consists of members from Attorney General’s office, the Departments of Roads, Public Works, Housing, and Urban Development, and Public Procurement Regulatory Authority.
While these entities play an important role, the glaring absence of critical institutions like the Controller of Budget, Office of the Auditor General, National Treasury, and County Treasuries raises serious concerns within the realm of public finance management.
Indeed, the absence of representation from the Auditor General and Budget Controller, both pivotal in public finance management, raises doubts about the committee’s effectiveness.
This comes at a time the Controller of Budget’s office intensifies efforts to secure real-time access to county accounts, particularly in its ongoing dispute with the Central Bank of Kenya over data access speed.
Lack of swift data access raises concerns about potential collusion between unscrupulous traders and corrupt officials, which could harm genuine contractors. For example, previous concerns raised by the Controller of Budget regarding the submission of falsified invoices at national and county government levels emphasise the importance of robust oversight.