MPs Want CS Machogu Summoned Over Universities Financial Crisis.
MPs want the CS for Education Ezekiel Machogu and Njuguna Ndung’u, his Treasury counterpart, summoned to discuss the financial crises facing public universities.
This occurred after Kamkunji MP Yusuf Hassan requested a statement from the departmental committee chair on Education and Research regarding the government’s efforts to prevent further arrears accumulation by public universities.
“In the recent past, public universities have been struggling to survive as they are unable to honour statutory remittances and payment of wages and debts due to banks, contractors and suppliers,” the MP said.
As of June 2022, the combined debt of these institutions, according to the lawmaker, was Sh56,1 billion and continues to rise.
Omboko Milemba, chairman of the Kuppet and member of parliament for the Emuhaya constituency, has stated that if nothing is done, public universities could collapse within two years.
“Unless we take care of it, it will finally collapse and I think we do not have a lot of time, maybe in two years there will be really a great challenge,” Milemba said.
James Nyikal, a member of Parliament for Seme, criticized the government for its neglect of higher education institutions, claiming that it could reach a point where even students refuse to enroll.
Legislators assert that they cannot bury their heads in the sand and wait for the institutions to fail.
“If we are not careful, public universities will die. Parliament is almost saying we are helpless. Very soon all the institutions will close and Kenya will be a laughing stalk,” Pokot South MP David Pkosing said.
The members of parliament asked the Speaker to instruct the Education Committee, led by Tinderet MP Julius Melly, to question the two Cabinet secretaries and find a lasting solution.
Pkosing stated, “We need to take these issues seriously and call the ministers for Education and Finance here and let Parliament address the issue.
If the current crisis is not resolved, students from low-income families will suffer the most, according to the legislators.
Even though it has been revealed that Nairobi University has increased tuition and accommodation fees, Egerton is unable to pay its employees their full salaries.
Other public universities have chosen to close some of their campuses to reduce operating expenses.
Parliament has yet to amend its Standing Orders to require Cabinet secretaries to answer questions regarding accountability.
Currently, the MPs can summon the CSs through departmental committees or in a ‘kamkunji’ to have them respond to various ministry-related issues.