Spending on foreign travel by President William Ruto and his Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria more than tripled in the first half of the financial year amid a push by his government to cut expenditure.
The latest data from the Controller of Budget shows that Dr Ruto’s spending on foreign trips between July and December 2022 was nearly four times that of his predecessor with the new head of State announcing his presence at the global stage with 10 trips during this period.
In the first half of 2022/23, the Executive Office of the President spent Sh56.2 million, an increase from Sh20.9 million in similar period in 2021. President Ruto, who was sworn in as Kenya's fifth head of State in September last year, saw his office spend close to Sh46.08 million in the period between October and December last year.
This was an increase from Sh12.7 million that his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta spent in the second quarter of year 2020/21.
In this financial year ending June, the Office of the President has been allocated Sh262.6 million for foreign travel, an increase of more than three times compared to Sh72.1 million that had been allocated by the previous team at the National Treasury.
A big chunk of this allocation is to former President Uhuru Kenyatta who has been given Sh120 million for foreign travel. State House Nairobi, the department under which President Ruto falls, saw its allocation for foreign travel increase from Sh4.7 million in the original budget for the current financial year to Sh10.9 million in the revised budget that was made by the new administration.
Dr Ruto made his first foreign trip as Kenya’s fifth head of State to the United Kingdom for the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in the period between September 19 and 20.
However, total spending on foreign travel during this period reduced slightly by Sh100 million to Sh2.7 billion. In the similar period last year, the taxpayers paid Sh2.8 billion for government officials to travel outside of the country.
Mr Kuria’s globe-trotting intensified with his ministry's expenditure on foreign travel rising more than three-fold to Sh51.34 million in the period under review compared to Sh14.27 million in similar period in 2021.
Mr Kuria is the most travelled minister in Ruto’s administration, having been out of the country on at least 18 occasions in the first 100 days since taking office. In February alone, Mr Kuria travelled to 10 different countries around the world, meeting 11 Presidents and former Tanzanian Head of State, Jakaya Kikwete.
A tally done earlier by the Business Daily showed that the CS has been out of the country more times than his Foreign Affairs counterpart Alfred Mutua, whose spending on foreign trips in the review period dropped.
In an interview with Citizen TV, Dr David Ndii, a senior economic adviser to Dr Ruto, has admitted that there is a lot of wastage in government.