, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – Bureaucracy in the release of funds and inadequate budgets have been major reasons for the continued pending bills in various key sectors.
Presenting a sectoral report on Energy, Infrastructure and ICT sector, Principal Secretary for Energy and Petroleum Joseph Njoroge said, for instance, the three areas had total pending bills amounting to Sh21.6 billion in the 2012/13 financial year.
Out of this, Sh20.1 billion was for development projects and Sh1.5 billion bill for recurrent expenditure.
“The trend of pending bills has been rising in the development vote mainly as a result of delayed payments for contracted civil works and professional services, variation of contracts, austerity measures and delays in exchequer releases to facilitate payments,” Njoroge said.
He was speaking at a Budget Public Hearings on Thursday on Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for the period between 2014 to 2017.
He however said despite the challenges, there was need for respective ministries to give priority to key projects and avoid misuse of funds.
For the sector (Energy, Infrastructure and ICT) to achieve its objectives, Njoroge said it will require Sh317billion, Sh434.09 and Sh478.2 billion for 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years respectively.
However, the sector has been allocated in the 2014/2015 financial year Sh200.3 billion for development, leaving a deficit of Sh117billion.
“There is always going to be deficit all the time, but we will try our best to ensure that these bills don’t drag for too long,” PS National Treasury Dr Kamau Thugge assured during the forum. “We will work towards ensuring that we don’t miss our targets in terms of revenue collection.”
Other challenges facing the sector include vandalism of infrastructural facilities like road guardrails and electricity cables, encroachment of infrastructure way-leaves especially by private developers and high turnover of trained technical personnel.
MTEF Budget public hearings assist treasury in the preparation of a Budget Policy Statement which will in turn be used to come up with budget estimates for the next financial year.