Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja recently appeared before the Senate County Public Accounts Committee to address the issue of accumulated debts owed by the county to the national government. He revealed that the county owed the national government a staggering amount of Sh215 billion, which had accrued over the years. However, in a counterargument, he stated that the national government also owed the county Sh68 billion.
To tackle the declining revenue collected in the past six years, the governor implemented Nairobi Pay, an automated system for revenue streams, and stopped cash handling by staff to prevent further losses. The committee pointed out that the county had the potential to generate up to Sh19 billion in own source revenue annually, but it was essential to plug revenue leakages.
During the hearing, State House Comptroller Katoo ole Metito assured the committee that the Office of the President would take responsibility for paying the verified Sh15 billion pending bills incurred during the Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) tenure, as it managed crucial county departments.
The Auditor General’s report raised concerns about the county’s accounting practices, showing discrepancies in own generated revenue figures over the years. For instance, in the Financial Year 2017/2018, Sh14 billion was collected, but only Sh10 billion was documented, leaving Sh4 billion unaccounted for. Similar concerns arose for other fiscal years, with declining revenue figures.
Governor Sakaja announced the formation of a task force, led by Advocate Kamotho Waiganjo, to address pending legal bills. Additionally, he addressed the issue of Sh1.7 billion in power bills, which was reduced to Sh900 million after an audit revealed inaccuracies in the meter readings.
Sakaja acknowledged that the debts owed by the county and the national government had been a source of friction during his tenure as a senator. He expressed his determination to clean up the city’s financial mess during his term as governor, aspiring to elevate Nairobi to its rightful place as one of the world’s greatest cities.