The directive to collapse the over 1,448 government payment systems into a single paybill number by president William Ruto could prove counter-productive after the Office of the Auditor General raised loopholes concerns that expose the Sh350billion to possible theft.
The amount quoted is the cumulative figure that ministries and public entities expect to collect as fees for the provision of services during the current financial year.
The Auditor General Nancy Gathungu noted that the taxpayers’ money could be exposed to a high risk of loss, as concerns emerge over controls set to prevent leakages.
President Ruto directed that all payments for public services channeled digitally to a single account.
A recent system failure of the single paybill payment system occasioned a paralysis in service delivery across the country.
Gathungu said she had raised concerns with the Treasury to tighten controls to protect public money in the shift to the single account.
“We must be very keen to ensure that controls are not compromised on the directives issued on how to manage revenue collection. I have already raised some concerns with the Treasury on internal controls. When we decide to put all our eggs in one basket then we must be sure that we have sealed all the loopholes on revenue collection,” she said at a forum on a new Public Finance Management tool being rolled out for the public service.
She told Budget and Appropriations Committee chairman at the event that she would raise the issue with the National Assembly.
“So, Hon Ndindi Nyoro, that is an area we will come to you when you are doing revenue allocation and when we are even tracing the revenues.” She noted.
The implication of the directive that took effect in July was that billions of shillings individual public entities collect would now be paid to the Treasury through a paybill gazetted last December as opposed to separate accounts.
During the current financial year budget, the Treasury projects that ministerial appropriations-in-aid- the funds ministries and State entities collect from the public for services will be Sh348.6 billion.
However, the Auditor-General said there exist issues with structures instituted to ensure checks and balances in the programme that stopped all cash payments in favour of the single account held at the Treasury.
The auditor has also flagged wastage, theft and leakages, leading to the loss of public funds in past reports.