Nairobi flagged over Sh387m travel expenses, little development

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • A report by the CoB revealed the county government spent a staggering Sh387.2 million on foreign and domestic travel in the first half of the 2019/2020 financial year.
  • Interestingly, the county assembly spent only Sh250,000 on foreign travel, which beats logic, while the executive spent Sh49.33 million.
  • Dr Nyakang’o also fingered the county for absorbing only Sh632 million as development expenditure in the first six months, which represented 5.6 per cent of the annual budget of Sh11.27 billion. 

Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o has raised red flags over Nairobi County’s huge expenditure on domestic and foreign travel.

A report by the CoB revealed the county government spent a staggering Sh387.2 million on foreign and domestic travel in the first half of the 2019/2020 financial year.

The report showed domestic travel alone accounted for a whopping Sh337.9 million in those six months.

Out of this, Governor Mike Sonko’s administration spent Sh232.39 million while the county assembly accounted for Sh105.5 million.

Interestingly, the county assembly spent only Sh250,000 on foreign travel, which beats logic, while the executive spent Sh49.33 million.

“Foreign travel expenditure accrued to Sh49.33 million and comprised Sh49.08 million spent by the County executive and Sh250, 000 spent by the County assembly,” read in part the report.

The first half of the county’s budget implementation report for the 2019/20 fiscal year was recently tabled at the assembly.

New rules

In the 2018/19 financial year, the Ministry of Devolution moved to reduce wasteful spending in the government and below target revenue collection by implementing measures requiring MCAs in all the 47 counties to get approvals before taking foreign trips.

The MCAs had to show benefits of the tours, invitation letters copied to the PS, total costs including visa fees, airfare and accommodation as well as detailed reports following the trips.

This was after the national government identified travel expenditure as a key avenue for pilferage of public funds by ward reps.

The Nairobi assembly went on to suspend foreign trips between October 2018 and February 2019 citing a budget deficit.

Data relayed by Nairobi Treasury department further indicates that MCAs spent Sh162 million on foreign travel in the 2016/17 financial year. The county executive spent a staggering Sh267 million within the same period.

Development

Dr Nyakang’o also fingered the county for absorbing only Sh632 million as development expenditure in the first six months, which represented 5.6 per cent of the annual budget of Sh11.27 billion.

She also noted the county’s failure to provide a list of development projects implemented during the period under review.

Dr Nyakang’o further raised concern about the expenditure on MCAs’ sitting allowances for the period under review noting that 124 of them pocketed a total Sh38.87 million in committee sitting allowances.

“The average monthly sitting allowance translated to Sh52,241 per MCA against the Salary and Remuneration Commission’s recommended monthly ceiling,” continued the report.