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How BBI intends to end delayed payments for government suppliers

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 22 – Suppliers doing business with the government will no longer have to chase payments for months or even years if a proposal in the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) is adopted.

Even though government ministries and departments promise to pay suppliers within a month or two on delivery, suppliers always wait for several months before they are paid, a major setback in business since most rely on loans from financial institutions.

In the end, some end up losing colateral or fail to make profit due to the lengthy payment period.

Some suppliers like at the Kenya Prisons Service have gone for more than five years without payment, even after proving that they rendered services or delivered goods. The government has embarked on the process of verifying genuine suppliers for payment.

Stories are told of some of the suppliers who have committed suicide or died of depression after losing their prime properties to auctioneers after placing them for colateral for capital.

The BBI recommendation wants to bring this trend to and end, proposing payment within 60 days to all suppliers.

And to address disputes, the Bill calls for establishment of a Public Invoices Settlement Tribunal, that will be tasked with hearing appeals on any decision stopping the payment of an invoice.

The five-member tribunal will be led by a Chairperson “with the qualifications of a Judge of the High Court of Kenya, nominated by the Judicial Service Commission.”

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“A decision of the Tribunal shall be enforced by an accounting officer of a public entity to whom it is directed,” reads the report that was presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta and his handshake partner Raila Odinga in Kisii on Wednesday.

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