Hard times as Universities pending bills hit KSh75 billion

UNIVERSITY OF NAIROBI
Machakos University

Public universities in Kenya are facing tough times in their operations due to pending bills amounting to KSh75 billion owed to various statutory bodies and creditors, a figure feared to have doubled for the last 2 years accruing interest.

This was disclosed when Universities Fund (UF) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Geoffery Monari appeared before the National Assembly Education Committee chaired by Tinderet MP Julius Melly.

The pending bills include among others Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) KSh20 billion in unremitted Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), pension deduction standing at about KSh24.6 billon and suppliers who are owed about KSh20 billion.

Monari stated that UF requires KSh11.9 billion from the Exchequer for students in their first year of study after receiving only KSh7.97 billion, indicating that public universities had been issued with promissory letters that the monies would be disbursed immediately they are received by the agency.

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He further revealed that private universities had only received 10 per cent of the expected tuition fees prompting private government-sponsored students in those universities to drop out due to government in delay paying their tuition fees.

During a meeting last week at Naivasha hotel that brought together vice chancellors for academic affairs and their deputies, it was reported that in one year, 32 universities has accumulated more than KSh8 billion in pending bills.

Public universities heavily depend on government for subsidies to run their operations. In the Financial Year 2023/2024 the national treasury allocated them only KSh80 billion for higher education and KSh82 billion for development and recurrent expenditure in line with new financial model out of their KSh180 billion request.

By Brian Ndigo

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