The National Youth Service (NYS) is once again the limelight for all the wrong reasons.
Hi Cyprian, please help highlight the plight of suppliers of the National Youth Service.
NYS has messed up and frustrated suppliers. This started years ago when NYS was constructing toilets and roads in Kibera. NYS told suppliers to quote then supply building materials, among many other items. Years later, suppliers have not been paid. A scandal brewed from those awarded mega tenders, leaving staff fired and others transferred to other ministries. The story is very vivid and painful like it was yesterday. It started with NYS asking suppliers to deliver goods to Kibera. The suppliers delivered the goods, and construction was completed with the materials used to build the roads, toilets, etc. After NYS completed the work, there was a scandal, which turned everything upside down.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2019 issued a policy directive an order to Government Accounting Officers to settle all pending payments that do not have audit queries on or before the end of the current Financial Year. Since then, several audit groups have been set up to go through the documentation and ensure that those with the proper documentation are paid. However, it has been back and forth with the government releasing money for pending bills and the selective suppliers being paid. The powerful politicians of this country are paid instead of the genuine small business people who took loans to deliver to NYS. NYS built the roads and infrastructure. One wonders why the government does not prioritise paying the suppliers who have the proper documentation. Margaret Kobia, on her appointment, promised the suppliers that she would make sure that they were paid. Since then, nothing has moved other than the prominent named politicians being paid the pending bills. Thus NYS maintains the status quo of pending bills, with NYS not being highlighted as one of the agencies with high pending bills. It seems Margaret Kobia and the DG are busily hiding the story.
Since 2019, suppliers have gone to court, and most of them have been awarded a decree for being paid. On hearing that the suppliers have gone to court, NYS reached out to them and paid a few connected ones or those who gave kickbacks. In addition, top politicians and their children were paid; since they constantly visit the NYS corridors pushing for their payments. However, a majority were left out.
The last group was formed to audit the processes and verify the documents in 2019. The companies who have the correct paperwork were asked to bring copied for verification, and those who genuinely brought the records were verified. A list was generated of the verified suppliers. Based on the information from NYS, the list was sent to Treasury as they asked for a supplementary budget. Suppliers were told to be patient and wait for the supplementary budget. However, 1.5 years later, nothing has taken off. This is deeply frustrating, considering the suppliers borrowed huge loans to deliver goods to NYS. The questions that linger are that:
- Does the government have the right to suppress business people by accepting the goods delivered and finishing their projects on a debt they don’t want to settle?
- Who was paid when Treasury released the money to NYS? The connected politicians who never followed procedure or the ones who give kickback?
- What happens to those with the proper paperwork but no means of fighting and no money to pay lawyers since they borrowed heavily?
Suppliers have been covered in the news numerous times while demonstrating. Pending payments have negatively affected businesses, particularly those whose bulk of capital is now locked in non-payment. Suppliers have continued to accumulate debt despite President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive and the Treasury’s order to the agencies to clear the bills. The last attempt was a press conference on TV which led to the suppliers being tear-gassed.
So the plea is for the current president not to finish his term without paying the genuine suppliers. Please highlight the plight of innocent Kenyans who were focused on delivering the governments agenda in the hope of making some livelihood for themselves.
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