Controller of Budget: Government on Runaway spending spree

By Mercy Imali

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Government appears to be on a spending spree. It gobbled up nearly Ksh 12 billion on both local and foreign trips during the first nine months of the 2018-2019 fiscal period.

This flies in the face of President Uhuru’s public pronouncements last September that his administration would embrace frugality. Uhuru had made drastic budget cuts on hospitality, foreign and domestic travel, training and other less essential spending to bridge the widening deficit between revenue and expenditure.

He had insisted that state officials must embrace cost cutting measures and channel more money towards development rather that recurrent expenditure. However a new report reveals his administration’s unbridled spending on non-essentials placing the country’s development prospects at the very backburner.

The budget implementation review report by the office of Controller of Budget Agnes Odhiambo, shows more than three-quarters of the total revenue raised in the first nine months of the 2018-2019 financial year went to recurrent expenditure.

It indicates that of the Ksh 1.7 trillion government expenditure, recurrent expenditure stood at Ksh1.3 trillion. Only a paltry Ksh 395 billion was left for development.

The Department for Interior led in hospitality expenditure, forking out Ksh1.08 billion on refreshment and entertainment of guests. It also spent Ksh 81.5 million on foreign travel, almost half of the Presidency’s Ksh 190.6 billion overseas trips budget.