Seth Onyango @SethManex
Governors, staff and Members of County Assemblies (MCAs) are now required to seek permission from relevant authorities to travel abroad in new measures aimed at curbing unnecessary foreign trips.
Devolution Principal secretary Charles Sunkuli issued the directive as part of effort to effect austerity measures recently introduced to tame the runaway public sector wage bill.
As part of the new guidelines, the officials will be required to explain how planned trips will benefit the county and must be endorsed by county secretary.
In the case of MCAs, requests for travel approval must be accompanied by minutes of the respective Assembly Committee and must be authenticated by the Speaker of the Assembly.
Sunkuli further announced that all trainings, workshops, seminars or conferences requiring participants to pay participation fees to the organisers will no longer be approved.
Exempt from this rule are conferences organised by recognised international professional and institutional associations and organisations to which Kenya is a member and which require the payment of registration fees.
Others include training courses approved in accordance with existing regulations on human resource development for Public Service and must have supporting evidence that the training is not locally available.
“The guidelines apply to all staff of county executives and county assemblies,” read Sunkuli’s circular in part. Invitation letters relating to the trip must bear official stamp indicating they were received in the office of the respective county secretary.
The letters must also be marked “approved” by the county secretary or assembly clerk. In the new circular to counties, all travel requests should be accompanied by copies of the approved work plan of the respective County Department clearly indicating the budget allocation and the relevant vote in the printed estimates from which the funds will be drawn.
All letters of invitation must also be copied to the Devolution PS by the organisers.
New guidelines will help rein in MCAs and County staff appetite for unnecessary trips abroad save the country billions spent in such travel expenses.