Prepare a pending bills payment plan – Business Daily
The National Treasury building in Nairobi. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
If there is one area the outgoing administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta let small business down, it is in the payment of pending bills to suppliers and contractors.
Several presidential directives requiring ministries, departments and agencies to pay up often went unheeded.
Deadlines set by the Treasury for clearance of verifiable pending bills passed without a majority of the entities who provide goods and services to the national and county governments getting paid.
By the end of the last financial year in June, government suppliers and contractors were owed more than Sh500 billion. The consequences of delayed payments have been grave for small businesses that largely rely on supplying government.
Some of them have been auctioned by banks while others have been forced to close. Given how important small businesses are to any efforts to revive the economy, the incoming administration must prioritise payment of pending bills.
Understandably, the administration will find it difficult to offer immediate guarantees considering the fact that it is inheriting a broke Treasury and much of the supplier debt is owed by cash-strapped State agencies.
But it can begin by addressing the fears of the suppliers and contractors that new officials in some of State agencies and county governments may take advantage of the transition to disown liability even where the pending bills are verifiable.
Even more importantly, the new administration should prepare and discuss a reasonable payment plan with the suppliers and contractors to demonstrate commitment to pay up.