Ministries splash Sh778m on parties

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The Interior ministry, Foreign Affairs, and Tourism were among ministries that grew their hospitality spend by nearly 10 times. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Ministries have increased their entertainment spend in the three months to September, defying an austerity drive to curb wastage.

Public offices spent Sh778 million on parties and receptions, up from Sh646 million in a similar period a year earlier.

The Interior ministry, Foreign Affairs, and Tourism were among ministries that grew their hospitality spend by nearly 10 times, according to a Controller of Budget report

Interior ministry entertainment spend rose to Sh111.9 million in the quarter, up from Sh11.7 million in the same period a year earlier.

That of the Foreign ministry rose to Sh118.8 million and Tourism to Sh35.9 million from Sh2.4 million.

The increases defy calls by the Treasury and President Uhuru Kenyatta for cuts on non-essential spending like catering and travel. Top government officials are no longer allowed to travel outside the country without clearance from the president and domestic travel is also reviewed.

The directive is a product of funding gaps following protests over tax increases that led to the halving of VAT on fuel to eight per cent, prompting proposed cuts to the government’s spending plan across the board.

President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto made cuts on their entertainment budget.

The Presidency used Sh155.8 million in the quarter, down from Sh167 million in a similar period last year.

At Sh155.8 million, the Presidency’s entertainment budget accounted for 21.6 per cent of the Sh718 million that public offices spent on parties and receptions in the period.

The Interior ministry, Foreign Affairs and the Presidency accounted for 53.8 per cent of all cash spent on hospitality in the three months to September.

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By Kenyan Digest

The Kenyan Digest Team