, NAIROBI, Kenya, July 2 – Deputy President William Ruto announced that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will issue guidelines for both national and county government trips abroad.
Ruto said the guidelines are aimed at ensuring the prudent use of resources amid reports from the Auditor General that millions in taxpayers’ money has been spent by Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) and county executives on trips abroad.
“The national government is going to issue policy guidelines and standards for all foreign travel for both national government staff and county government staff so that proper and prudent use of public funds in relation to foreign travel is achieved,” he said.
The Chairman of the Council of Governors Isaac Ruto welcomed the guidelines saying unregulated foreign trips by county government representatives risked undermining devolution.
“There is need for a framework to put a ceiling on expenditure on travel as unregulated trips by county officials is posing a serious threat to devolution,” he said.
In February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had raised alarm over the huge county delegations that were making trips abroad and had called for guidelines to be put in place.
“While the ministry may not have recorded of all these visits and their output, it seems they are touristic in nature. The sheer number including up to 70 persons on a study/benchmarking visit is contemptible to the host,” Ambassador E. M Barine who is the Director, Liaison (Parliamentary and County Affairs) stated in a letter to various Principal Secretaries.
And while announcing pay cuts that he, his Cabinet and Principal Secretaries would be taking in March, President Uhuru Kenyatta also announced that foreign trips by members of his government would be cut down to the absolutely necessary as a cost cutting measure.
The announcement by both Ruto’s on trips abroad followed an Intergovernmental Budget and Economic Council meeting at the Deputy President’s residence in Karen.
At the meeting it was also resolved that the Transitional Authority would in the next two months carry out an audit of the assets and liabilities that belonged to the now defunct local authorities to ensure they are all handed over to the county governments.