Gov’t suspends all non-essential travel for public officers

Written by on 3 October 2023

The government has suspended all non-essential travel for public officers in new austerity measures aimed at reducing public expenditure.

In a circular issued on Monday, October 2, Head of Public Service Felix Koskei said the move was in line with the constitution’s demands on prudent and responsible utilisation of taxpayers’ money.

The categories of foreign travel that have been frozen include benchmarking and study visits, training and related capacity-building initiatives, research, academic meetings and symposia.

Others are conferences and meetings of general participation, side events, showcase events and exhibitions, and caucus and association meetings and events.

“Art. 201(d) of the Constitution demands the prudent and responsible utilisation of public money, a principle that remains the guiding anchor of the Government’s current fiscal consolidation and monetary policy strategies. A key outcome of these interventions has been the reduction of the resource envelope available to undertake the wide-ranging activities that have been planned in pursuit of respective governmental mandates at both National and County levels.

“This has necessitated the need to scale down and prioritise spending, focusing on the critical operations and activities that are essential to service delivery to the citizen,” Koskei said adding that the decision follows an advisory from the National Treasury.

At the same time, Koskei announced restrictions for the delegations accompanying state officers for foreign trips including the President, First Lady and Deputy President.

In the new guidelines, the delegation accompanying the President, the First Lady and the Deputy President will be limited to approved officials with a direct role in the scheduled activities.

Further, officials accompanying Cabinet Secretaries and Governors shall not exceed three persons including the head of the delegation while delegations headed by Principal Secretaries have been restricted to two.

“Where the Cabinet Secretary is to be accompanied, at least one (1) of the delegates shall be a technical officer specialised in the subject matter of the foreign engagement, with no security or personal assistants/logistics officers other than as exempted,” the communiqué reads.

“It is reiterated that Cabinet and Principal Secretaries in the same ministries shall not be away on foreign travel at the same time, unless the foreign engagement expressly demands the same.”

The period of official visits has also been capped at a maximum of seven days including the travel days.

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