Presidency biggest spender on hospitality, report says

Presidency biggest spender on hospitality, report says

Deputy President William Ruto (left) and President Uhuru Kenyatta at the Mombasa port on September 3, 2016. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JOHN NGIRACHU
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The Controller of Budget has ranked President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy as the biggest hospitality budget spenders.

The Presidency, under which President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto’s expenses fall, spent Sh1.4 billion, a quarter of the total Sh5.2 billion used by all ministries, commissions and the Judiciary.

The breakdown is contained in the Budget Implementation Review Report for the 2015/16 financial year published by Auditor-General Agnes Odhiambo.

The report highlights a Sh29.1 billion increase in the wage bill, cautions against the approval of late Supplementary Budgets and faults failure to record revenue collected by government agencies in the financial information management system.

These aside, there was a Sh133.13 billion increase in development expenditure from Sh318.7 billion in the 2014/15 financial year to Sh451.83 billion in 2015/16. This, however, is lower than the Sh478.96 billion in the Budget Review and Outlook Paper submitted to Parliament.

In the 2015/16 financial year, President Kenyatta hosted US President Barack Obama, Pope Francis, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The latest high profile visitors were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and South African President Jacob Zuma.

The Presidency’s hospitality expenditure was more than double that of the second highest spender, the Foreign Affairs ministry, which spent Sh570.4 million. Parliament was next with Sh530.8 million.

PILE’S BOTTOM

At the bottom of the pile are the Commission on Administrative Justice at Sh4.2 million, Registrar of Political Parties at Sh4.3 million and Gender and Equality Commission at Sh4.5 million.

The anti-graft agency and National Intelligence Service, spent nothing on that budget line. The intelligence service traditionally does not break down its expenses.

With government insistence on austerity measures, scrutiny of how much government agencies spend on hospitality has emerged as a way to measure how committed it is to this policy.

Another is foreign travel, on which government spent Sh5.29 billion in the last financial year. The Foreign Affairs ministry was the biggest spender on that front at Sh1.9 billion, with the others being Parliament at Sh1.6 billion, the Sports ministry at Sh483.5 million and Presidency at 24-0.7 million.

On domestic travel, the National Assembly was the biggest spender at Sh2.9 billion, 33.4 per cent of the total domestic travel bill.

MPs are reimbursed for their presumed weekly visits to their constituencies, a system that was last year revealed to have loopholes that resulted in its abuse.

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