President Uhuru Kenyatta’s austerity plan for which he called on ministries to cut costs on what he termed non-essential issues such as entertainment and travel has been ignored as ironically, it is the presidency, which includes The President and his Deputy, that seems to spend a lot.
According to the Comptroller of Budget (CoB), in the twelve months to June, the office of the president spent a total of 197 million shillings on foreign trips, almost two times the amount used the previous year.
Members of parliament are not any better in terms of spending the taxpayer’s money on trips. In August 5th, 85 members of the National Assembly led by the Speaker and his deputy together with their support staff travelled to the US, much to the anger of taxpayers.
The trip is said to have cost 1.6 billion shillings, which was way more than the 719 million shillings that had been set aside for MP’s foreign trips the previous year.
Reports by the Controller of Budget show that in the year 2018/2019, MPs salaries increased by two billion shillings, making it 11.2 billion and state corporations generally spent more on foreign travel, conferences, training and domestic travel.
All ministries, departments and agencies doubled their spending on hospitality from 4.7 billion shillings the previous year to 9.8 billion shillings.
While the President and the National Treasury continue to make threats on cutting cost and doing the opposite, the country is undergoing a financial crisis that saw farmers go for months without the cheapest fertilizer.
The president even froze some development projects and concentrated on only those in line with his Big Four agenda, as the treasury became keen on increasing tax revenue. Despite this, the government ironically had to borrow an additional 114 billion shillings as increased wages and interest payments ate into most of the taxes.
As at now the country’s fiscal deficit is at 7.4 percent, with the country’s debt at 5. 81 trillion shillings, as the outgoing Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo’s Annual National Government Budget Implementation Report for FY 2018/19 revealed.
A total of 423 billion shillings was spent on personal emoluments (PE) where the Teachers Service Commission recorded the highest expenditure on PE at Sh239.2 billion.
For salary and allowances, there was a 12 percent increase from the initial 377.7 billion shillings while recurrent expenditure increased to one trillion shillings.
National Treasury CS Ukur Yattani has yet promised that the government will cut on costs and it will be “brutal and will be sustained”, as the ministry wants the fiscal deficit to drop to 3.5 percent by the year 2022/2023.