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Economy

Energy ministry plan to hire helicopter for top officials raises eyebrows

Charles Keter
Charles Keter. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Ministry of Energy is seeking to hire an aircraft for use by its top officials even as President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration pushes for austerity measures including budget cuts for key programmes and scrapping of non-essential funding.

The Energy ministry headed by Charles Keter has invited bids for the supply of helicopter services to the ministry when required for use by its officials.

“The Ministry of Energy invites sealed tenders from eligible candidates for provision of hire of helicopter services under framework agreement “as and when required” basis for two years,” said the Energy PS Joseph Njoroge in the notice.

The plan is likely to face scrutiny as years of reforms have left the ministry to handle mainly policy issues.

Agencies under the cash-rich energy docket like Kenya Power, the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company and Kenya Pipeline Company already use helicopters for fieldwork.

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The plans for separate helicopter services also comes months after the office of Deputy President William Ruto sought a tender for supply of a helicopter with special features and a fixed-wing aircraft, sparking public outrage.

The Treasury recently announced budget cuts on non-essential items like trips, training and car expenses to curb borrowing in an economy where taxes are trailing targets.

Acting Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani told ministries and other State agencies last month to prepare for “brutal” budget cuts and promised to issue guidelines, including actions to be taken against those who breach the guidelines.

“The cuts will be brutal, sustained and with no compromise,” he had declared last month.

The items that were expected to be affected in the budget cuts include travel, entertainment, training, publicity and car costs — which set back taxpayers Sh30.1 billion in the year to June last year, up from Sh17.8 billion in 2013.

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