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Kenya’s Ruto removes budget for first lady’s office, dissolves 47 agencies

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By Business Insider


PRESIDENT William Ruto has made a bold move by eliminating the budget for the offices of Kenya’s first and second ladies following nationwide protests.

He dissolved 47 agencies and suspended non-essential travel for officials.

All non-essential travel by state and public officers is suspended, and no state officer or public servant will participate in harambee.

He announced this during a live broadcast on Friday, where he also dissolved 47 agencies and suspended non-essential travel for officials.

Ruto said he would ask Parliament for spending cuts totalling 177 billion shillings ($1.39 billion) for the fiscal year that began this month and that the government would increase borrowing by about 169 billion shillings.

According to him, all non-essential travel by state and public officers “is hereby suspended,” and “no state officer or public servant will participate in harambee.”

What the president said:

“The operations of the office of the first lady, second lady and the wife of the prime cabinet will be removed,”

“In keeping up with the austerity measures we promised, 47 State corporations with overlapping and duplicating functions to be dissolved and affected staff to be transferred to other ministries,” he said.

The President has also directed the suspension of the purchase of new motor vehicles in government for one year, except for security agencies. Additionally, all non-essential travel by state officers has been suspended.

The president also noted that public servants at the retirement age of 60, shall be required to retire immediately.

In the spirit of austerity, he ordered a re-evaluation of salaries and compensation for state officers on Wednesday. The rising expenditures on salaries and benefits for public servants are putting a significant strain on national finances.

These decisions come on the heels of protests in Kenya against the unpopular tax bill recently introduced. The controversial tax proposal has sparked widespread resentment, particularly among the country’s youth.

Analysts have said the bill’s withdrawal is likely to result in Kenya missing targets in its IMF programme, although the government does not have debts coming due for which it urgently needs cash.

While some protest supporters have decided not to demonstrate following the scrapping of the finance bill, others vowed to continue, insisting that only President Ruto’s resignation would satisfy their demands.

Analysts have said the bill’s withdrawal is likely to result in Kenya missing targets in its IMF programme, although the government does not have debts coming due for which it urgently needs cash.

Kenya’s budget deficit is now projected at 4.6% of gross domestic product in the 2024/25 financial year, up from an earlier estimate of 3.3%, Ruto said.