State House has restricted foreign travel to the bare minimum as President William Ruto’s administration moves to streamline expenditures by curbing non-essential trips, which has seen government ban ministers and county bosses from traveling with their bodyguards and aides abroad.

In an official communication addressed to government officials, Felix Koskei, the Chief of Staff and Head of the Public Service, outlined immediate restrictions on travel, particularly for high-ranking officials.

Delegations involving Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, and governors have now been limited to a maximum of three individuals.

This includes the Cabinet Secretary as the head of the delegation, accompanied by two others. Furthermore, if a Cabinet Secretary requires an accompanying delegate, at least one of them must possess expertise in the specific subject matter of the foreign engagement.

Importantly, no security personnel or personal assistants will be allowed in these delegations, a move aimed at weeding out joyriders.

State officials under Ruto’s administration spent Sh14 billion on travel in the nine months ended March this year, the highest in a similar period in the last least five years.

To further economise government spending, Mr Koskei emphasised that Cabinet Secretaries and Principal Secretaries within the same ministries should avoid simultaneous foreign travel unless it is expressly required by the nature of the engagement.

In cases where the County Executive Committee represents a Governor, the directive stipulates that they must travel alone.

As a result of these new guidelines, all travel approvals issued by Principal Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers for staff within their respective agencies have been suspended.

Mr Koskei also highlighted that delegations accompanying high-ranking officials such as the President, First Lady, Deputy President, and Prime Cabinet Secretary will only be approved for officials directly involved in the scheduled activities of these principals.

In a bid to further reduce costs, the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs has been instructed to decrease the number of personnel accompanying these high-ranking officials by 50 percent and limit the duration of their travel to a maximum of seven days, including travel dates.

The National Treasury has been tasked with a similar cost-saving mission, directed to equitably reduce both foreign and local travel budgets by 50 percent.

Moreover, Foreign Missions have been urged to proactively represent the Government of Kenya in all matters of national interest and participation invitations before line ministries become involved.

These measures collectively aim to streamline government spending and prioritise critical operations and activities.