Western counties spent Sh1.2bn on local travel during Covid-19 period


The report also shows that Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega cumulatively spent another Sh27.2 million on foreign travel in the same period.

Photo credit: File

Four counties in Western Kenya cumulatively spent Sh1.2 billion on domestic travel during the Covid-19 period, the Controller of Budget has revealed in the 2020/21 financial year report.

This was the period when the country was grappling with the effects of the pandemic that ravaged the economy, causing a dip in revenue across sectors.

The report also shows that Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega cumulatively spent another Sh27.2 million on foreign travel in the same period.

Bungoma was the highest spender on domestic travel (Sh429.5 million) followed by Vihiga (Sh303.7 million).

Kakamega and Busia gobbled up Sh280.4 million and Sh208.5 million on domestic travel respectively.

Vihiga did not incur any expenditure on foreign tours during the 2020/21 fiscal year.

But Kakamega spent the least on foreign travel, sinking Sh696,855.

Bungoma spent Sh14.1 million on the same vote, putting it at the top, followed by Busia (Sh12.4 million) on overseas trips.

Other recurrent expenditures incurred by the counties included specialised supplies and services, hospitality, insurance services, utility supplies and services, refined fuels and lubricants and advertising, printing and publishing.

In Vihiga, for instance, Sh120.3 million went to specialised supplies and services and another Sh97.7 million to hospitality.

Bungoma spent a high of Sh647.5 million on hospitality while Kakamega spent Sh176.6 million.

On MCAs’ sitting allowances during the tough Covid-19 period, the report by Dr Margaret Nyakang'o shows that Vihiga spent Sh48.9 million on committee sitting allowances.

Bungoma, Busia and Kakamega paid Sh8.3 million, Sh29.9 million and Sh106.8 million respectively as sitting allowance for their MCAs.

Vihiga has 38 MCAs while Bungoma, Busia, and Kakamega have 60, 53 and 89 MCAs respectively.

Elsewhere, religious leaders in Vihiga have called on wrangling parties to end the 2021/22 budget impasse that has grounded operations in the county.

Led by Fr Martin Chibole, the Christian and Islamic leaders said the county faces a financial crisis following a court case that has limited access to funds.

Two locals - Mr Francis Ominde and Mr Joseph Simekha – sued in the High Court in July, protesting that Vihiga’s spending plan was illegal as it was not approved by the County Executive Committee.

The High Court then issued an order stopping implementation of the Sh5.8 billion budget until the case is determined.

Fr Chibole said religious leaders recognised the case may have merit but encouraged all parties to resolve underlying issues expeditiously so as to end the impasse.

He was joined by Mr Manase Lugadiru of NCCK, Mr Derek Wawire of the Evangelical Alliance of Kenya, Ms Gladys Kinyan of the Organisation of African Instituted Churches and Mr Zubeir Shogobe of Supkem.

The High Court is expected to deliver its judgment on the matter in the middle of November.