Uhuru, Ruto travel, entertainment spending hits Sh1bn
The offices of President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy, William Ruto, have more than doubled spending on publicity, travel and entertainment amid calls for austerity in government expenditure.
The Controller of Budget report shows that the Presidency, which comprises the offices of the President and the Deputy President, spent Sh1 billion in the six months to December, up from Sh413.9 million in a similar period a year earlier.
The 142 per cent rise in the three items comes amid an austerity plan by the Treasury to free up cash for development and essential services such as health and education in a country grappling with high poverty levels.
Foreign and domestic travel spending on the Presidency rose to Sh319.3 million in the review period, up from Sh252 million while hospitality expenses increased by Sh154 million to Sh627 million.
Publicity spend increased 20 times to Sh141.5 million in the period between July and December last year.
The Controller of Budget report shows that the Presidency’s recurrent spending rose the fastest among ministries, departments and agencies. It increased 81 per cent to Sh2.9 billion in the six months.
This comes amid efforts by Mr Kenyatta to rein in the recurrent budget and contain the bloated wage bill to free up money for development projects, which are the drivers of economic growth.
The Jubilee government came to power in 2013 and announced a tight austerity plan aiming to cut spending on non-core activities.
This saw top public officials, led by Mr Kenyatta and Mr Ruto, volunteer to take a 20 per cent pay cut.
The government unveiled a new transport policy that has seen the National Police Service resort to hiring vehicles as opposed to buying new cars to reduce wastage.
Mr Kenyatta’s administration has also been pushing for government advertisements to be done online to cut the publicity bill, which still grew to Sh445.5 million between July and December from Sh269 million a year earlier.