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CS Rotich backs direct US flights to boost tourist numbers

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has a word with World Bank Country director Diarietou Gaye during the Kenya Devolution Support Program (KDSP) workshop held at Simba Lodge in Naivasha. The WB has granted Kenya Sh20B towards capacity development in all counties. Photo: Antony Gitonga

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has hailed the recent approval of direct flights to the US, saying it will increase tourist numbers.

The CS was, however, quick to add that more still needs to be done by Kenyan authorities before the first non-stop flight to US airports.

“There are some set conditions that have been issued to the country such as security at the airport, and this will definitely be addressed,” he said yesterday.

Mr Rotich said besides the direct flights providing a much-needed boost to the ailing tourism industry, they will also benefit the horticulture sector through lower freight charges.

“We have in the past used various airlines to deliver our goods to the US market, but with the non-stop flights, this will change,” he said.

The CS was addressing the press on the sidelines of the just-concluded Kenya Devolution Support Programme (KDSP) workshop at the Simba Lodge in Naivasha.

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Last week, Kenya received a safety certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration that will allow local airlines to apply for non-stop flights to the North American nation, which would greatly shorten the journey between the two countries.

Following the announcement, Kenya Airways said it would begin work to set up new routes.

Meanwhile, CS Rotich said the Sh20 billion allocated to counties by the World Bank for capacity building would be disbursed once the Senate approved the County Allocation Revenue Act (CARA).

“The Senate will have to amend CARA first before the money can be sent to the counties and other institutions for capacity building,” he said.

The CS said when devolution came into effect, the counties inherited the now defunct municipal councils whose officials had no knowledge of financial management as required by law.

Senate’s Finance committee chairman Billow Kerrow urged donors to provide funding for projects on a priority basis.

He also urged the National Treasury to devise new ways of allocating funds to counties without amending the Act midstream.

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