The Vihiga county government is on now focussing on its development priorities after clearing most of its pending bills, Governor Wilber Ottichilo has said. Ottichilo on Friday said the county has cleared 97 per cent of its nearly Sh2 billion pending bills. “It is only that our budget has been halted by some individuals in court.
We could have cleared those bills by the end of this year,” Ottichilo said. The governor said he inherited pending bills amounting to Sh1.7 billion from the previous administration. Ottichilo was elected in 2017 after he beat former Governor Moses Akaranga. “There was no way I could have escaped paying this after the President gave a directive to county chiefs to clear pending bills,” Ottichilo said. “We were later pinned down by the Controller of Budget that before any county receives its cash allocation, it has to declare how much should go to clearing pending bills,” he added.
The governor was speaking at Egago Dispensary in Vihiga constituency where he led thousands of residents in planting trees in the Maragoli hills. Finance executive Alfred Indeche said about 1.5 per cent of the pending bills have not been claimed and that another 0.5 per cent lacked proper procedures. “We have got one per cent of the historical bills that are clearly claimed and once our budget is out of court we shall clear it,” Indeche told the Star on the phone. “
Then we shall allocate the funds for the two per cent that is remaining if that 0.5 per cent is approved and the 1.5 per cent happens to resurface then we have no choice to settle it because it was a directive from the President,” Indeche added. Ottichilo said Vihiga is going to experience tremendous development in all its 25 wards following the clearing of the pending bills. He said his administration was not able to do much as they were struggling to clear the bills. Ottichilo promised those seeking to unseat him in next year’s general election to prepare for a tough battle.
He said he was confident of winning reflecting. “Those joining the gubernatorial race are my flower girls to escort me back in the office because now I have not anything to bar me from developing Vihiga county,” Ottochilo said.!