Kenya Wildlife Service declared technically insolvent

KWS has accumulated Sh4.4 billion in losses that have left it technically insolvent, according to a newly-released report on the agency’s finances.

KWS has accumulated Sh4.4 billion ($42m) in losses that have left it technically insolvent, according to a newly-released report on the agency’s finances.

Auditor- General Edward Ouko says KWS, the State agency charged with wildlife conservation, reported a deficit of Sh680.5 million ($6.5m) in the financial year ended June 2015, its latest audited period.

“During the year under review, the service recorded a deficit of Sh680.5 million…bringing accumulated deficit to Sh4.4 billion,” Mr Ouko says in a qualified audit report he submitted to Parliament last week.

This came on the back of another Sh3.7 billion ($35m) deficit that the agency had accumulated in the year to June 2014, pushing the total to Sh4.4 billion.

Continued sustainability of the service is therefore dependent on regular government, creditors and/or development partners’ support Mr Ouko says.

“This scenario is untenable considering the vital importance of wildlife conservation for the present and future generations as envisioned in the Constitution of Kenya,” Mr Ouko says in the audit report dated June 16, 2016.

KWS blames the Parliament’s decision to amend the Wildlife Management and Conservation Act 2013 as the reason behind the huge loss that left the taxpayer with a Sh4.83 billion bill by end of June 2016.

Under the act, KWS is required to pay a minimum Sh5 million ($50,000) compensation for every life lost.

The KWS now wants Parliament to review the compensation rates to levels the agency can afford to pay from own revenues.

Tourism in Kenya is the second-largest source of foreign exchange revenue following agriculture with the main tourist attractions being safaris through the 19 national parks and game reserves.

Kenya is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world and every year millions of tourists land in the country bringing valuable foreign currencies in the process.

Therefore it would come as a surprise how the State agency can accumulate so much losses.

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