Plan to waive debts owed by public varsities underway, Machogu says

Machogu

Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu has said that he is in consultation with the National Treasury and other stakeholders to waive part of the Ksh63 billion pending bills facing public universities.

Speaking during a meeting with the Senate Education Committee chaired by Murang`a Senator Joseph Nyutu, Machogu said that the Ministry was currently gathering reports from various Universities and will hold a multi-sector discussion in a committee formed to implore the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) to waive the dues owed from statutory deductions.

The dues owed are; Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF).

Machogu said that the pending bills totaling Ksh63 billion have accrued in the 32 public universities for over five to six years due to inadequate funding from the Government, and as a result, they are finding it tough to pay their suppliers as well as their staff.

He faulted the old university funding model for the accumulation of the debts.

“At that time the Government was using Differentiated Unit Cost (DOC), where the state would pay 80 per cent of the total cost of the course being undertaken by every student regardless of their socioeconomic standing and the cost of the course being undertaken,” he said.

However, he said that going forward the trend will come to a stop as the new funding model takes effect where students will be categorized into; vulnerable, very needy, needy and less needy.

The new funding model is set to harmonize tuition fees per course and address myriad fiscal challenges that have faced universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions.

It will also require the government to cater for 82 per cent of fees through scholarships, while 18 per cent will be catered for by the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) through loans that have been funded to the tune of Ksh29 billion in the current financial year.

Machogu said that he is engaging with the National Treasury to find a lasting solution that will ensure the timely release of capitation funds to schools.

By Vostine Ratemo

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