Civil servants pocket record monthly travel benefits of 1 billion shillings

Economy

Civil servants pocket record monthly travel benefits of 1 billion shillings


Budget Comptroller Margaret Nyakang’o. PICTURES | JEFF ANGOTE | NMG

john-mutua-img

Summary

  • Data from the Comptroller of the Budget (CoB) shows civil servants spent 5.97 billion shillings on local travel in the six months to December, up from 4.89 billion shillings in the same period a year earlier .
  • The jump came after Kenya lifted a ban on social gatherings and local flights, prompting a return to high spending by government officials who traditionally use per diems and allowances to boost monthly incomes.
  • It is the highest amount government officials have spent on local travel in the first six months of a fiscal year since 2013.

Spending by civil servants on local travel in the first half of a fiscal year hit a record high since decentralization began after restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 were eased.

Data from the Comptroller of the Budget (CoB) shows civil servants spent 5.97 billion shillings on local travel in the six months to December, up from 4.89 billion shillings in the same period a year earlier .

The jump came after Kenya lifted a ban on social gatherings and local flights, prompting a return to high spending by government officials who traditionally use per diems and allowances to boost monthly incomes.

It is the highest amount state officials have spent on local travel in the first six months of a fiscal year since 2013, underscoring growing pressure on the government to free up money for essential expenses such as development projects.

The only time since 2013 that spending on such local travel has come close was in December 2019, when it hit 5.6 billion shillings.

Government employees are entitled to per diems and other allowances whenever they travel locally on assignments, including trainings and seminars.

MPs accounted for the highest share of 5.97 billion shillings after spending 1.96 billion shillings, followed by the Home Office with 761 million shillings and the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) with 651, 5 million shillings.

Legislators spent 70.17 million shillings on local trips in the six months to December 2020, the Home Office used 681.3 million shillings and the PSC spent 545.53 million shillings during of the period, highlighting the impact of the restrictions on public spending.

Spending on local travel had slowed in 2020 after Kenya banned social gatherings and suspended domestic flights after reporting the first positive coronavirus case in March.

The bans have led to a suspension of local training and domestic travel for state employees, resulting in a drastic drop in the amounts state officials earn in allowances and per diems.

But since late last year, officers have increased local travel, mostly for training, while MPs have also embarked on early campaigns ahead of general elections due in August after restrictions eased in July. from last year.

Record spending on local travel pushed the total amount used by officials for domestic and foreign travel to 8.85 billion shillings, the highest in a half year since 2019.

The gradual return to work in offices and the removal of limits on the number of people allowed in social gatherings have also fueled the spending craze.

The Treasury has pushed to reduce non-essential travel locally and abroad to free up money for development.

Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani has claimed for the past three years that all non-essential spending will be reviewed to ensure the government can save money and fund its programs without relying too heavily on debt.

Items that have been identified for cuts include local and domestic travel, training and car maintenance as the economy grapples with near-stagnant revenue collections and mounting debt repayment obligations.

[email protected]

Comments are closed.