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Ruto flies to Paris amid uproar over Sh14bn government spending on foreign trips

President William Ruto travelled to Paris on Thursday evening to attend the Global Pact Finance Summit, whose aims is to reimagine global finance system and foster the creation of a more inclusive financial architecture.

President Ruto’s trip abroad came hours after he attended the Shakedown of this year’s edition of the WRC Safari Rally in Naivasha.

According to a state from State House, President Ruto considers the summit a critical platform to make bold proposals towards the establishment of a new multilateral climate finance institutional architecture.

At the summit, President Ruto intends to underscore the need to move beyond incremental measures that fall short of effectively combating the climate change crisis and fail to generate investment benefits for Africa.

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The trip comes in the backdrop of revelations that Ruto’s administration has already spent Sh14billion in the 10 months of his stay in office. It is the highest amount of money ever spent in the past five years, an indication of current government’s huge appetite for overseas travel.

Nation.Africa recently reported that the government spent Sh 14 billion on travel, Sh 6 billion on hospitality and Sh3.3 billion on fuel and maintenance of vehicles. However, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua is on record for defending the huge government spending on  foreign trips.

“You know I don’t understand these people (the media). They complain that President Ruto is travelling too much and at the same time they complain that I’m not travelling. So which is which? But I want to encourage you Mr President to continue traveling in all parts of the world and bring resources for the development of our nation,” Gachagua said.

These trips come at a time when Kenyans are grappling with the high cost of living and the impending tax proposals that will see them dig deeper into their pockets to pay new or increased taxes proposed by the Kenya Kwanza government.

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Beginning July 1, 2023, Kenyans will now pay 16 per cent Value Added Tax on fuel, meaning the cost of transport and food will shoot up to all-time highs. Kenyans will also pay more taxes to finance controversial affordable housing scheme.

The huge government spending have even been criticised by none other than the chairperson of the Economic Advisory Council David Ndii.

The renowned economist recently has described President Ruto’s government as wasteful and having an itchy feet problem.

At the same time, the country is also dealing with a public debt of Sh 9.4 trillion, just shy of reaching the Sh 10 trillion limit, which has seen the government going on a borrowing spree to carry out their financial obligations.

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