The State is now planning to purchase guest houses and luxury vehicles for visiting Heads of State and dignitaries, a move it says is aimed at cutting reliance on ritzy hotels for the visitors.
According to the Foreign Affairs ministry, acquiring the homes will guarantee ready accommodation, security and privacy for the ‘VIP State guests’.
“The ministry seeks to acquire suitable guesthouses for high-level dignitaries visiting the country. This will cut costs of hotel accommodation and ensure there is always availability of accommodation and reduce dependency on hotels,” Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo says in a report to Parliament.”This will also ensure security and confidentiality.
Omamo adds that her ministry also needs ceremonial or protocol vehicles, complete with provision for flag pendants, on standby at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) for dignitaries’ movement during visits.
“Further, the ministry intends to acquire protocol/ceremonial vehicles-Specifics for vehicles to include provision for flag pendants,” she says.
The ministry says the current fleet of vehicles it owns comprises old cars which it says are costly to maintain.
“The ministry has a large fleet of old vehicles hence increased maintenance costs. In addition, unlike in other international airports, JKIA does not have protocol cars stationed within the tarmac area/airside to facilitate VVIPs and VIPs on arrival and departure (boarding and disembarking),” adds the CS.
“There is also inadequate dedicated transport for senior staff, local errands and to ferry staff and goods which hampers service delivery of the ministry.”
This comes after the Foreign Affairs ministry recently announced that it would cease renting property and instead shift to buying, in order to cut its high expenditure on the rental costs which are reportedly almost Ksh.3 billion a year.
“Most missions do not own properties hence end up leasing. Rents and leases account for approximately 20 percent (Sh3.4 billion) out of the total budget (Sh17 billion) in Kenyan Missions abroad,” the report notes.A
In the financial year ending June 2021, the Treasury allocated the Foreign Affairs ministry a total of Ksh.17.33 billion, out of which, according to Business Daily, Ksh.16.2 billion went to recurrent expenditure, leaving only Ksh.1.13 billion for development.