Enforce the ban on wasteful foreign trips

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has made a remarkable resolution by cancelling all benchmarking and training foreign trips by government officials, pararastal chiefs, and political leaders at the national and county levels.

The proclivity for foreign trips has reached ridiculous levels and opened a conduit for siphoning public money.

Yet the so-called benchmarking trips have never added any value to the live of the citizens.

It has become a practice that officials of every government ministry or county government that wants to implement any new project must travel abroad supposedly to learn from the best experiences with a view, theoretically, of replicating them.

Ministries have even devised a practice where they include members of respective parliamentary committees in their foreign trips.

The intention is to buy their support so that when issues arise, the MPs can protect them from sanctions.

MPs and members of county assemblies have been travelling out for all sorts of reasons. Indeed, House Speaker Justin Muturi imposed a ban on foreign trips, arguing that they were wasteful. However, the ban was hardly enforced.

Reports by the Auditor-General have routinely highlighted how the country was losing huge sums of money through the numerous foreign travels.

Not only are they a drain on the national coffers, but they also dent Kenya’s image abroad.

A number of foreign embassies have formally protested to the Kenyan Government over the trips by various delegations to their countries, noting that they were a nuisance to their home nations.

Imposing an embargo on the trips is easy; the challenge for Mr Rotich is implementation.

Having issued the circular to all public officers and based on the reports by the Auditor-General, Mr Rotich must ensure that the foreign travel rule is strictly adhered to.