The management of the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) risks losing millions of shillings in court awards after it emerged that it is yet to pay suppliers about 390 million shillings in pending bills with less than three days to the end of the current financial year.
On June 1, this year, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed that all pending bills owed by national government agencies and county governments that have no audit queries be paid by end of this month.
Auditor-General Edward Ouko has already warned that KICC risks having its assets auctioned if the bills are not settled.
In a special audit report before the National Assembly, Mr Ouko notes that the claimants have valid contracts, LPOs, LSOs and award letters, and goods and services were delivered, with confirmation of works done.
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“We recommend payment of various contractors, suppliers and service providers. The corporation risks its assets being attached in the event that the claims are not settled as most claimants have contracts,” he says.
The Head of State, who spoke at the Narok Stadium when he led the 56th Madaraka Day celebrations, directed that going forward, all payments for supplies made to National and County Governments be processed and made promptly and on a priority basis.
He said the directive was in line with the Government’s policy to promote the local industry and enterprise, “Buy Kenya Build Kenya”.
The President said the Government is the largest consumer of goods and services in the economy and many small businesses are built to service this demand.
“Unfortunately, pending payments have negatively affected many businesses, particularly those whose bulk of capital is now locked in non-payment. This has also reduced overall spending and business activity in our economy,” said the President.
The President further directed the National Treasury to secure full compliance of the directive on clearing of pending payments. He also called upon County Governments to follow suit.
The President directed the Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards to honour pre-shipment inspections done by KEBS appointed agents.
“Imported goods, therefore, should not be subjected to additional inspection at the Port of entry except for cases legitimately suspected not to conform to the set standards,” said the President.
He said the directive is intended to strike a balance between enhancing the ease of doing business in Kenya on one hand and protection of the public from harmful imports.
President Kenyatta said he issued the directive on the importation of goods after receiving consistent feedback from wananchi and the business community that KEBS has, despite its good intentions and in the lawful discharge of its mandate, constrained the importation of goods by small and medium enterprises.
The President said the Government will also initiate business tax reforms and the restructuring of port logistics operations.
“All efforts will be made to guarantee the predictability of business operations,” said the President.
The President said the directives he has issued are meant to support and deepen the positive growth the country has achieved and will provide tangible opportunities and benefits to the people.