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Uhuru and Ruto's offices spent Sh1bn each on hospitality in nine months: Report

Wednesday June 15 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at a press conference on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission at State House in Nairobi on June 8, 2016. PHOTO | SAMUEL MIRING'U | NATION MEDIA GROUP

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto at a press conference on the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission at State House in Nairobi on June 8, 2016. PHOTO | SAMUEL MIRING'U | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

PETER LEFTIE
By PETER LEFTIE
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President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto’s offices spent Sh1 billion each on hospitality during the first nine months of the 2015/16 financial year despite their repeated calls for austerity.

The Controller of Budget’s report for the third quarter of this financial year shows that the Presidency used Sh1.045 billion on hospitality, Sh359 million on domestic travel, Sh167 million on foreign tours and Sh149 million on printing and advertising.

The huge expenditure on hospitality and travel flies in the face of the President’s repeated advice to government officials to cut costs associated with travel and hospitality in order to free money for development.

Addressing a governors’ summit at Sagana State Lodge in Nyeri in February, Mr Kenyatta directed government officials to reduce travel and expense allowances by 60 per cent.

“The national and county governments have committed to achieve a 60 per cent reduction in travel and allowance expenditure,” he said.

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The decision, he said, would direct more resources to development.

He promised to form a team to analyse functions of the national and county governments to avoid duplication of roles and resource wastage.

“A commission will be formed to identify and differentiate roles by the two levels of government to ensure that devolution delivers the intended benefits to citizens,” he said.

Neither the directive to reduce expenditure nor the formation of the commission have come to fruition.

The report shows that the National Assembly spent the highest amount on domestic travel, at Sh2.1 billion.

The amount largely went to mileage claims by lawmakers. MPs have in the past come under heavy criticism for lodging false claims to steal taxpayers’ money.

The Sh2.1 billion, the report says, accounted for 40 per cent of the total domestic expenditure by ministries and government departments.

Parliament spent an additional Sh497 million on foreign travel and Sh192 million on hospitality.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recorded the highest expenditure on global travel at Sh902 million, or a third of the total expenditure on international travel.

The Teachers Service Commission spent Sh103 billion on salaries between July last year and March this, translating to 55 per cent of the government’s expenditure on personal emoluments, says the report signed by Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo.

The ministry spent Sh25.6 billion on subsidised secondary education in the same period.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology spent another Sh862 million on specialised materials and supplies, Sh197.8 million on office and general supplies and services and Sh970 million on other operating expenses.

According to the report, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission spent Sh1 billion on salaries, Sh140 million on domestic and foreign travel, Sh356 million on rent, Sh89 million on hospitality and Sh510 million on other expenses.

In the same period, the government used Sh317 billion to service public debt.

Of this amount, Sh264 billion went to servicing the domestic debt and the balance of Sh53 billion repaid the foreign debt.

“The expenditure incurred on foreign debt amounted to Sh52 billion, of which Sh25.7 billion was spent on principal repayment, while Sh26.3 billion was spent on interest payments,” the report says.

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A BREAKDOWN OF THE AMOUNTS

Sh89m: The money the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission used on hospitality.
Sh140m: What the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission spent on domestic and foreign travel in the nine months under review.
Sh197.8m: The amount the Ministry of Education used to buy office and general supplies and services.
Sh317bn: The money used to service debts.
Sh862m: What the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology spent on specialised material.
Sh902m: What the Ministry of Foreign Affairs used on international travel.