Uhuru hails Nakuru ward reps for stopping foreign trips after budget shortfall

Nakuru county assembly has put the brakes on foreign travel by ward representatives as a cost-cutting measure.

Sh200 million from the foreign trips vote and other non-essential expenditure will be reallocated to ward development, increasing the development kitty to Sh1.5 billion from Sh1.3 billion.

Assembly Clerk Joseph Malinda said the move is meant to curb public wastage of resources and ensure members focus on county development agenda.

“Members resolved to go slow on foreign trips after looking at the resources we have. It was a difficult decision but we saw the need to reorganise ourselves and focus on priorities,” Mr Malinda.

Prior to this development, every MCA was entitled to at least one foreign trip per year. In the last financial year, the assembly spent Sh35 million on foreign trips.

Majority Leader Moses Ndung’u explained that the move is part of austerity measures initiated by the national government.

"The assembly is working hard to redeem its image and ensure residents get value for their money. In light of that, we (the board) have decided to halt all public travels to save on spending of public funds," said the Elementaita Ward representative, who is also member of the County Assembly Board.

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Refurbished chamber

They were speaking during the inauguration of the Sh230 million refurbished chamber on Wednesday.

The inauguration was officiated by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

In his address, Mr Kenyatta hailed the MCAs, saying the move is a show of maturity and true leadership.

“I salute you for taking that kind of decision without being influenced by anyone. I congratulate you for that. That is a sign of leadership. I wish all of us will take a leave from this,” said the President in his address.

The development comes in the backdrop of a row between senators and members of the National Assembly over Division of Revenue Bill, 2019, which spells out the sharing of revenue between the national and county governments.

Counties are facing a financial crunch after the National Assembly differed with the Senate on the amount to be allocated to counties.

Nakuru Speaker Joel Kairu said the decision means none of the MCAs will travel out of the country this year on county assembly budget.

"We will reallocate the money to development," said Mr Kairu.

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