The government has taken action to control public spending by temporarily halting all non-essential travel for government officials. This decision, communicated through a circular released by Head of Public Service Felix Koskei on Monday, also includes restrictions on the number of people accompanying high-ranking officials like the President, Deputy President, First Lady, and Prime Cabinet Secretaries during foreign trips.
According to the announcement, the suspended non-essential travel categories encompass activities such as benchmarking, study visits, training sessions, capacity-building initiatives, research, academic meetings, symposia, conferences, general participation meetings, side events like showcases and exhibitions, as well as caucus and association meetings and events.
The notice specifies that foreign travel will only be authorized for events where the participation of the Kenyan government is necessary to fulfill state obligations or engage in critical state-related matters. Additionally, travel is permitted for statutory leadership or membership roles when crucial decisions affecting the country’s position are being considered.
Koskei clarified that delegations led by Cabinet Secretaries should not exceed three individuals, including the Cabinet Secretary as the head of the delegation. Delegations led by Principal Secretaries should not exceed two members. If a Cabinet Secretary is part of the delegation, at least one delegate must possess technical expertise in the subject matter of the foreign engagement. Security or personal assistants/logistics officers are only allowed when exempted.
Delegations involving both Cabinet and Principal Secretaries are limited to a maximum of three individuals.
The notice emphasizes that Cabinet and Principal Secretaries from the same ministries should not be away on foreign travel simultaneously, except when the specific foreign engagement necessitates their joint presence.
Delegations led by County Governors should also not surpass three persons, with the Governor as the head of the delegation.
Delegations accompanying the President, First Lady, Deputy President, and Prime Cabinet Secretary will be approved only for officials directly involved in the scheduled activities/program of these principals. Furthermore, the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs has been instructed to reduce the number of personnel accompanying each principal by 50%.
The notice has additionally set a maximum limit of seven days, including travel days, for official travel. Koskei stated that these austerity measures are required to reduce and prioritize spending, focusing on essential operations and activities necessary for citizen service delivery.