Education CS George Magoha has said a “substantial” amount of money has been paid to artisans making desks for public primary and secondary schools.
Prof Magoha said his ministry started paying the artisans last week.
The artisans from Machakos and Nairobi who had delivered the desks have been paid, the CS said.
Contracted artisans in Kirinyaga, Kisii, Muranga and Makueni will get their payments from next week after verification of documents.
“The documents have to be verified at the county level before submitting them to our head office and eventually make payments through M-Pesa. The payments will be much faster because we are paying for what has been verified.”
The government set aside Sh1.9 billion under the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) for the supply of the locally assembled furniture to public primary and secondary schools countrywide.
Magoha insists his ministry will achieve its target.
“I have several desks myself and those that were poorly done have been returned. We should not raise unnecessary tension among Kenyans. Anybody who wants to audit the programme and the funds used can do so.”
Addressing the media at Nyabururu Girls National School in Kisii on Thursday, Magoha said there had been slight delays in payments and apologised to artisans.
“No amount has been stolen. By the time schools reopen in January all money could have been paid.”
On primary and secondary fees payment, the CS pleaded with school heads to remain sensitive on the plight of poor parents.
“Among the children, there are those who are extremely poor, let them remain in school. You are sending them home to do what?”
“You are sending them home to a 10 by 10 room. In such a situation it is criminal to send such a child home. Some children have had both their parents affected by Covid-19; with some having their mother and father not working. Let us not send them home unless you have done due diligence to establish that their parents are able to pay schools fees.”
The CS said the government is preparing to re-open schools in January and thanked teachers for their sacrifice to remain in school despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is not enough to castigate the government on schools reopening, all of us must be prepared and support the programme.”
The government is to provide two re-usable masks for children from poor families.
“Some people want us to still close our schools. We have lost teachers, children and even parents but this is happening all over the world. Covid-19 is here to stay. Reopening schools will be a big challenge but we are ready for the task.”