Uhuru, Ruto cut foreign travel bill to four-year low
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto cut their foreign travel costs in the three months to September to the lowest level in four years as pressure piles on top government officials to control discretionary expenses.
Data from the Controller of Budget (CoB) shows the Presidency reduced spending in the quarter to Sh16.8 million from Sh19 million in a similar period a year ago and Sh60.3 million in the three months to September 2016.
The drop in the foreign travel bill last year was linked to the campaign period when the Presidency focused more on domestic tours to woo voters.
Kenya had a prolonged and volatile electioneering period due to repeat presidential polls in October ordered by the Supreme Court.
But the latest numbers indicate that Mr Kenyatta and his deputy have gone slow on foreign trips and local travel whose spend dropped to Sh95 million in the quarter, down from Sh174.7 million in a similar period last year — representing a 45.6 per cent cut.
Mr Kenyatta has pushed for austerity measures across the board with deeper cuts on non-essential items like travel and entertainment.
Expenditure on foreign travel for the 64 ministries, departments and agencies increased 74 percent to Sh1.14 billion in the quarter on the back of increased trips abroad by MPs.
Mr Kenyatta’s frequent foreign trips in the three years of his first term in office attracted debate and criticism.
State House has in the past been forced to defend Mr Kenyatta’s frequent trips abroad, arguing that most of them had potential to attract investments.