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Nyeri residents propose budget cuts for president, his deputy

Nyeri residents have asked the National Treasury to consider slashing budgetary allocations for travel and hospitality for President, Dr William Ruto, his deputy Rigathi Gachagua and the Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi when the department draws the 2024/2025 Financial Year budget.

Residents recommended that the funds chopped be channeled towards development projects and completing stalled government programs. According to the residents, the executive has so far spent a lot of money on foreign and local trips which according to them have not yielded tangible outcomes for Kenyans.

“On State House and the two other big offices, we are recommending that the issues of local and foreign travel and also hospitality and catering be reduced and the money should be channeled to development,” said Wachira Muchemi a resident from Mathira.

According to a report by the Controller of Budget, for the 2022/2023 financial year the total expenditure for the office of the President was Sh20.1 billion, with foreign travel accounting for Sh361.7 million. The office of the President has so far spent more than Sh56 million on travel while that of the Deputy President has spent Sh40.7 million on foreign travel. The office of the Prime Cabinet Secretary spent Sh21.5 million on foreign travel.

Nyeri residents were speaking during a public participation forum organized by the National Treasury on the 2024/2025 budget and 2024-2027 Medium Term budgets at the YMCA hall in Nyeri town.

The National Treasury jointly with other state departments has been collecting views and recommendations from members of the public from the 47 counties on nine key priority areas that they would like prioritized in the annual budget and the 2024-2027 midterm budget.

During the forum the residents also asked the Treasury to prioritize the release of pension for the increasing number of retirees in the next financial year.

Additionally they also recommended the Exchequer to consider setting aside funds for the remuneration of Nyumba Kumi elders who they said help the National Government Administrative Officers perform their duties.

“We observed that the national government administration is using Wazee wa Nyumba Kumi to gather a lot of information from their areas of jurisdiction. These Wazees should be remunerated so that they can continue to support service delivery by government officials,” said Wachira.

Other key recommendations included proposals to establish a government-run rescue centre for the needy and vulnerable groups in each of the eight sub-counties and the employment of counselors and social workers.

They also recommended that the Sh2, 000 monthly stipend for the elderly and vulnerable be increased to match the current economic times.

“The allocation of Sh2, 000 monthly issued to the older persons and the vulnerable through the cash transfer program is insufficient. We need to review the allocation and increase it from Sh2, 000 to Sh5, 000,”said Ndegwa Kaburu, a Kieni resident.

The countrywide public participation exercise started on October 31 and it will end on Monday, November 6.

By Samson Kiama

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