William Ruto

Stick to austerity pledge

In reality, however, audit reports for recent fiscal years paint a different picture. While President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have gone as far as to freeze, among others, ‘unnecessary’ travel by officials of ministries and agencies, taxpayers have continually been forced to dig deeper into their pockets to top up their travel and entertainment budgets.

For years now the Presidency has pushed for austerity measures in the government.  On paper, the move paints the picture of an administration that is alive to the reality that is falling revenue collection, consequently limiting the budget for much needed development, and therefore ready to remedy the situation by cutting wasteful spending. In reality, however, audit reports for recent fiscal years paint a different picture. While President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto have gone as far as to freeze, among others, ‘unnecessary’ travel by officials of ministries and agencies, taxpayers have continually been forced to dig deeper into their pockets to top up their travel and entertainment budgets. It was the case in 2015 when it was reported that the Presidency had overshot its Sh3.5 billion budget by Sh300 million. The following year Sh212 million more was allocated to the office for domestic travel and in the six months to last December, they nearly doubled their entertainment spend to Sh616 million compared to the same period a year earlier. This is an 85 per cent increase and frankly a slap in the face of taxpayers who have already cut their household budgets to cope with the hard economic times.

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We would like to challenge the Presidency to lead its austerity campaign from the front.

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