MPs want public schools to pay suppliers despite closure

MPs want public schools to pay suppliers despite closure

The National Assembly now wants the Education ministry to explain why suppliers of various goods in public schools have not been paid.

This follows a petition tabled by Dagoretti South MP John Kiarie on the plight of the suppliers.

According to the MP, the abrupt closure of schools on March 15 as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic has resulted to a major loss of livelihood for the suppliers.

“Mr Speaker it is worth noting that the suppliers had already supplied goods for the first term of 2020 but to date they have not been paid,” he said.

The legislator said a big proportion of the suppliers had taken loans and the delayed payment is accumulating interest and heavy penalties.

“I want to bring to the attention of the House that these suppliers have not been included in the stimulus package and their efforts to seek redress with the ministry have been futile,” Kiarie said.

As a result, Kiarie said the Senate committee on Education should move swiftly and investigate with an aim of making urgent recommendations that will see the schools offset all debts owed to the suppliers.

“Mr Speaker, this matter is not pending before any tribunal or court, the Education committee must investigate all these outstanding debts and make recommendations for immediate payments,” Kiarie said.

He added, “The committee must further recommend that these suppliers be included in the stimulus programme aimed at cushioning businesses against the economic shocks caused by the disease”.

According to the MP, the committee must make the orders that will address the matter urgently to save lives that depended on the supply of goods.

Kiarie’s sentiments were echoed by Suba South MP John Mbadi, who said it is shocking that the ministry has not released funds to schools that would see them off set the debts.

According to Mbadi, Parliament has not made any changes to the allocation of money to schools and thus the Ministry should be investigated on why the money has not been utilised.

“The Ministry should be able to explain to this committee how they have utilised the money meant for the 2019/2020 budget.  If not they should explain why the money has not been utilised when we have suppliers who are frustrated by the fact that they have not been paid,” Mbadi said.

“Mr Speaker the government has put policies in place to ensure its ministries and departments clear all pending bills and such debts are part of pending bills. The ministry thus has a lot of explaining to do in that regard,” he added.

His West Mugirango counterpart Vincent Kemosi said the current pandemic has caused a lot of suffering to many schools.

“Many principals have been calling us trying to explain how the families of these suppliers are affected and Mr Speaker this House must act,” he said.

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa said the Education committee in its recommendations must also ensure that teachers employed by the Board are given a monthly stipend to take them through these difficult times.

“As we speak Mr Speaker, when learning resumes some schools will have ceased to exist because of depleted infrastructure,” he said.

Wamalwa said private teachers who have been forced to enroll in programmes like the Kazi Mtaani should also be considered in the recommendations.

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