The Treasury’s request for urgent audit of all pending county bills with a view to finally clearing the estimated Sh100 billion debts is long overdue. This is because for the thousands of small businesses that did business with the State, it has been a painful and life-threatening journey.
The audit is basically to weed out fraudulent claimants from the genuine ones, by end of January. It is only sensible that those who supplied goods and services to the State be paid without delay once the exercise is concluded.
The reality on the ground is that thousands of men and women sunk their savings in the ventures that did business with the government only to have their fingers burned with these delays. It shouldn’t be that even after the long wait they are then subjected to red tape.
Expediting payments is also crucial to restoring confidence and ensuring proper service provision in counties. Currently, thousands of service providers have shunned the county governments on account of non-payment of bills.
One of the key recommendations we expect from the office of the Auditor-General is a streamlining of the processes. In this day and age when digitisation has made information accessible anywhere and at any time, contracts and other documents should be verifiable from the word go to speed up processing.