No foreign travel for Nairobi MCAs (for now) as broke Assembly cuts costs
Nairobi County Assembly has put the brakes on foreign travels by Members of County Assembly (MCAs) until next year.
The move comes after the County Assembly Service Board (CASB) suspended all foreign trips for members until 2019 as a result of budget shortfall.
Acting County Speaker and Ngara Ward MCA Chege Mwaura said the move is meant to curb wastage besides ensuring that MCAs focus on priority areas.
“We have resolved as the assembly leadership to go slow on the 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,” said Mr Mwaura on Monday.
Every Nairobi MCA was entitled to at least one foreign trip every year which has now been put on hold.
Majority leader Abdi Guyo reiterated the Speaker’s sentiments, explaining that the move is part of the austerity measures initiated by the national government.
“The Assembly is working hard to redeem its image and ensure that residents get value for their money and in in light of that, we as a board have decided to halt all public travels until 2019 to save on spending of public funds,” said the Matopeni Ward MCA, who is a member of the Assembly’s Board.
Kariobangi South MCA Robert Mbatia said that the call means that the Board will only approve pressing foreign trips and the assembly would likely divert the resources towards improving members’ capacity.
“We can reallocate the money towards improving the capacity of the members by introducing a supplementary budget seeing that the money had already been budgeted for,” said Mr Mbatia, who is also the chair of the Assembly’s Budget and Appropriations committee.
Minority Chief Whip Peter Imwatok welcomed the move but said that it should not be confused to mean that MCAs have been overspending money allocated for foreign travels.
A report by the auditor general’s office indicates that Nairobi MCAs spent sh162 million on foreign travels for 2016/17 financial year. The county executive also spent a staggering Sh267 million within the same period.