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Ruto explains why plane used for the U.S. state visit cost Sh10M & not Sh200M

Ruto dismissed reports of extravagant spending & clarified the plane cost less than Sh10 million

President William Ruto taking a phone call at State House, Nairobi
  • Ruto dismissed reports of extravagant spending, clarified expenses were less than Sh10 million
  • Ruto considered Kenya Airways but friends offered a cheaper flight on RoyalJet airline
  • President Ruto emphasized leading by example in fiscal discipline and austerity measures

President William Ruto has addressed the swirling controversy regarding the cost of his recent state visit to the United States.

Speaking during the National Prayer Breakfast on May 30, President Ruto firmly dismissing reports that he spent an extravagant Sh200 million on the trip.

President Ruto clarified that the expenses were significantly lower, emphasising his commitment to prudent management of public funds.

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"You know I am a very responsible steward, believe you me, I cannot spend Sh200 million, there is no way," Ruto stated.

"In fact, let me disclose here that it cost the public of Kenya less than Sh10 million," he added.

President Ruto explained that when he was initially quoted Sh70 million for the cheapest available plane, he considered booking a flight with Kenya Airways.

However, upon hearing this, friends of his intervened with a better offer.

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"When some friends of mine heard that I was to travel with Kenya Airways, we have built a big reputation as a country; we have built friends. Some friends told me, 'How much do you want to pay?' I said I'm not ready to pay more than Sh20 million. They said, 'Bring Sh10 million, we will give you the plane,'" Ruto elaborated.

President Ruto emphasised his determination to lead by example, aligning his actions with the government's call for fiscal discipline and austerity measures amidst the current economic challenges.

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"Look at me, Kenyans, look at me again. I must lead from the front as I tell others to tighten their belts. Mine must be where to begin," he asserted.

"The debate must end because I am that responsible, and it is going to be that way. We are going to make sure that we tighten about health, we live within our means," the head of state added.

Ruto reiterated his administration's goal to achieve a balanced budget within three years, stressing the importance of reducing dependency on borrowed funds and maintaining fiscal discipline.

"My plan is that in three years we must have a balanced budget. We cannot continue to have a budget that has a deficit," he declared.

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President Ruto added that he had communicated his plan to the National Treasury headed by CS Njuguna Ndung'u.

President Ruto expressed pride in the support he receives from his economic team, underscoring their collective commitment to steering the country towards economic stability and sustainability.

"I am proud of the support I get from my economic team," he concluded.

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The government has also been defending the cost of the trip by highlighting the significant benefits secured during the visit, including major investments and aid for Kenya.

Government spokesperson Isaac Mwaura recently emphasised that the benefits of the visit far outweighed the costs, including investments totaling Sh1 trillion and substantial aid packages​.

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