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Parliament on the spot over MPs Sh10m Dubai finance training

Parliament is on the spot over a 5 day trip by to Dubai by 16 MPs for a master class on financial management. The mps left Nairobi on Thurs...

Parliament is on the spot over a 5 day trip by to Dubai by 16 MPs for a master class on financial management.

The mps left Nairobi on Thursday for the training touted as a way to 'hone' their public finance management skills.

The trip to the United Arab Emirates has drawn interest owing to its timing during the Covid-19 pandemic that has taken its toll on the Exchequer.

Dubai has Covid-19 safety protocols in place. The participants are drawn from the Finance, Budget, Public Investments, Public Accounts and Special Fund committees.

Kenyans, however, demanded answers on why the training could not have been conducted as the Kenya School of Government, or at a hotel in Nairobi, or via web-based conferencing platforms.

KSG is considered the best in East and Central Africa on teaching how to better the financial and other aspects of public service.

Local hoteliers protested the move to have MPs travel to Dubai for the training. 

Kenya Tourism Federation chairman Mohamed Hersi said: I love training but when we are broke as a nation with empty Nairobi Hotels would it not have made more sense to have the trainer come to Nairobi."

"We are busy sending out the little forex we earn to Dubai. Look at that room , nothing special . Please reject such moves," he said.

Parliament has been under sharp criticism for unnecessary trips to foreign countries; excursions have been curtailed during the pandemic.

MPs are entitled to at least Sh98,000 per diem while return fares to Dubai in economy class cost about Sh50,000.

Business class costs about Sh126,000 on Kenya Airways - which public officers are strictly required to use for local and foreign travels.

Parliament thus will spend a minimum of Sh10 million on the trip, including five days per diem for each member and round-trip fares.

They will be taking a Master Class in Public Financial Management. The training funded by the National Assembly is organised by a Dubai based training body called Zoe Talent Solutions.

National Assembly Clerk Michael Sialai said the course is tailor-made for members serving in money related committees of the House.

“The aim is empower the participants to obtain an in-depth and comprehensive knowledge of theoretical as well as practical aspects of public financial management,” Sialai said.

He said that Parliament is facilitating the training as part of its capacity building for members, noting that most of the appropriation and audit committees have new leaders.

The entourage includes Finance committee chairperson Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay MP), Mohamed Ali (Nyali), Wafula Wamunyinyi (Kanduyi), Esther Passaris (Nairobi), Mishi Mboko (Likoni), Mukami Wachira (Nyeri), Peter Masara (Suna West), Christopher Omulele (Luanda), Makali Mulu (Kitui Central), John Mbadi (Suba South), and Naomi Shabaan (Taita Taveta).

In August 2019, 90 MPs travelled to the United States to attend a conference whose agenda included sampling country music and listening to motivational talks.

ODM leader Raila Odinga was among the first leaders who raised concerns about the trip saying it was a waste of public money.

He demanded that Parliament apologise to Kenyans for spending taxpayers’ money on such a trip, citing the smaller delegations by other countries.

“The trip is evidence that these institutions have money they do not know what do with it, or simply don’t care about the burden taxpayers are bearing,” he said at that time.

A trip by some 20 MPs in 2018 to watch the World Cup in Russia also sparked outrage, especially after they posted selfies in a stadium.

Parliament saved at least Sh19 million after a trip by 15 MPs to New York for the UN Women's Conference was called off due to Covid-19. The team was to have been away for 10 days.

The government recently announced the suspension of civil servants' foreign travel.

 

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