Cabinet to hold special meeting over payments

President Uhuru Kenyatta will tomorrow chair a special cabinet meeting as the government moves to ensure payments are made to all state suppliers.

Most government suppliers have not been paid for close to a year with the debts now threatening to ground operations of most companies run by youths, women and persons with disabilities, who often have limited access to capital.

President Kenyatta came to power with a clear assurance to the special groups that he would open up government businesses for them.

In fact, he gave a directive that 30 percent of all state tenders be given to the youth, women and persons with disabilities.

But delayed payment to services rendered is now threatening to ruin the noble plan.

In its Thursday meeting, the cabinet is said to have agreed to prioritise the disbursement of all payments to youth, women and persons with disabilities.

And in his address to the media yesterday, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu said the President fully supports the Cabinet’s decision.

“In recognition of this, the President will hold a special Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to specifically deal with this matter, and to make certain that youth, women and persons with disabilities receive the utmost consideration and protection for their services to government,” Esipisu said.

He noted that Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO) formed to help marginalised groups get state tenders has improved the people’s access to the opportunities.

“AGPO was established to help marginalised groups, but delayed payments have become more detrimental than helpful to these groups, who often have limited access to capital,” he said.

According to Esipisu, President Kenyatta has asked all state departments to present to the meeting their progress as regards their payment plans at tomorrow’s meeting.

On the Banking Act (Amendment) Bill 2015 which was passed by parliament last week and which seeks to regulate interest rates, Mr Esipisu said the President will spend time consulting once it is formally transmitted to him.

Pressure is mounting on President Kenyatta with both the opposition and trade unions urging him to sign into law the Bill while bankers are calling for its rejection.

“It is yet to be formally transmitted to the President, but when he finally gets it, he will spend time consulting extensively on the provisions, before applying his mind and making his decision,” Esipisu said.

Opposition chief Raila Odinga said the President has the opportunity to fulfil his election pledge on cheap loans by assenting to the Bill.

“High commercial lending rates, often around 18 per cent or more, have stifled businesses and particularly killed upstarts such as youth projects,” said Mr Odinga adding that high interest rates, like the cost of power, has forced some investors to relocate to neighbouring countries with better rates.

“The President remains committed to finding a solution to the high interest rates in the country — indeed, it was among his campaign promises, and he is committed to fulfilling that pledge to Kenyans,” Esipisu said.

 

 

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