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Ruto, Gachagua, Cabinet, CEOs, governors hit by new travel restrictions

Head of Public Service Felix Koskei restricts foreign travel for President Ruto, DP Gachagua, Cabinet, CEOs & governors

President William Ruto DP Rigathi Gachagua and Head of Public Service Felix Koskei during the Cabinet Secretaries Retreat at Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club

In a strategic move aimed at curbing government spending, the government has announced significant austerity measures, particularly focusing on official foreign travel.

Among the suspended activities are benchmarking and study visits, training sessions, capacity-building initiatives, research, academic meetings, symposia, conferences, general participation meetings, side events, showcase events, exhibitions, caucus, and association meetings.

Public entities scheduled to travel for any of the suspended events are encouraged to explore virtual participation or engage the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs to secure the participation of diplomatic officials in the respective countries.

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These measures, outlined in a circular by the Head of Public Service, Felix Koskei, target different tiers of government officials.

The circular has enforced a 50 per cent reduction in the number of delegations accompanying high-ranking officials, including the President, Deputy President, First Lady, and the Prime Cabinet Secretary.

Strict approvals will be granted only to officials directly involved in the scheduled activities of these key figures.

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Similar cuts have been applied to delegations accompanying Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries.

Delegations headed by Cabinet Secretaries shall not exceed three persons, including the Cabinet Secretary as the head of the delegation.

Principal Secretaries' delegations are further limited to two persons – the Principal Secretary and an accompanying technical officer.

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Both CS and PS in the same ministry shall not be away at the same time unless the invite expressly requires their attendance.

CEOs of State Corporations, not part of the delegation of a Cabinet Secretary or Principal Secretary, have been directed to travel alone and strictly for state engagements.

This move aims to reduce the size of delegations and optimize resource use.

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Governors of counties are also subject to the new travel restrictions.

Delegations headed by governors shall not exceed three persons, including the governor as the head of the delegation.

If a county executive is to travel on behalf of a county Governor, he or she is instructed to travel alone.

These measures come as part of a broader strategy to streamline government spending and ensure that official travel is undertaken only when absolutely necessary.

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The government is keen on minimizing costs associated with travel, including expenses such as per diem and ticket upgrades.

The circular also emphasises that travel visas and other courtesies will be extended only for travel associated with state party engagements, limiting the issuance of invitations to government entities unless deemed necessary.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been tasked with overseeing the adherence to these guidelines and limiting invitations to focal point institutions only when necessary.

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