Saturday, June 22, 2024

Ruto asks for Sh. 2 billion for foreign trips in budget

The cost of foreign trips by President William Ruto will shoot to Sh. 2 billion in the financial year starting July 1 if a proposal tabled before parliament is adopted.

Currently, the National Treasury has allocated Sh. 700 million for the president’s foreign trips. However, a further Sh. 1.3 billion has been requested by the committee on Defense, Intelligence, and Foreign Affairs.

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“The ministry requires an annual budget allocation of Sh. 2 billion for state visits to cater for outbound visits,” the committee said in a report to Parliament.

This comes as President Ruto’s spending on foreign travel shoots through the roof.

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For instance, data from the Controller of Budget shows that President Ruto’s spending on foreign trips between July and December 2022 was nearly four times that of former President Uhuru Kenyatta. Ruto made 10 trips during this period.

President Ruto saw his office spend close to Sh. 46.08 million in the period between October and December last year.  This was an increase from Sh. 12.7 million that his predecessor spent in the second quarter of year 2020/21.

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In this ending financial year, the Office of the President had been allocated Sh. 262.6 million for foreign travel, an increase of more than three times compared to Sh. 72.1 million that had been allocated by the previous team at the National Treasury.

At the same time, by March this year, President Ruto and Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua’s offices had spent close to Sh. 10 billion.

This meant that the two burst their full-year budget within seven months,despite calling for austerity plans to tame expenditure.

Data published by the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Njuguna Ndung’u indicated that the Executive Office of the President spent Sh. 9.09 billion in the period through January against an original full-year estimate of Sh. 8.64 billion.

This represented an over-expenditure of Sh. 450.11 million or 5.21 per cent of the original 12-month budget for the Presidency prepared by Uhuru’s administration.

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