Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja on Tuesday, October 25, opposed a Ksh500 million budget allocation for the purchase of official residences for the Governor and his Deputy, Njoroge Muchiri.
The plan features in the Nairobi County Annual Development Plan for the financial year ending June 30, 2023. It was revived by City Hall in January. It was introduced following a 2020 directive by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to all the 47 counties to build residential houses for top county officials within two years in a bid to cut on monthly rent expenditure.
The SRC has been paying monthly rental allowance of Ksh200,000 to the Nairobi Governor and his Deputy. The National Treasury has previously raised concerns over the millions paid out every month in allowances to Governors, Deputy Governors and Speakers increasing the burden on taxpayers.
Speaking in Kibra constituency when he accompanied President William Ruto to launch the Soweto East Zone B social housing programme, Sakaja stated that the Ksh500 million allocation should be channeled towards other projects that would improve the wellbeing of Nairobians, such as the construction of markets.
The Governor noted that markets would spur trade and employment for youth in Nairobi.
“I have just seen a budget which is allocating Ksh500 million for the construction of governors’ and deputy governors’ houses. I have asked them to reallocate the money to other priority projects like construction of markets and creating jobs for our young people,” Sakaja stated.
“I already have a place where I live, why do I need Ksh500 million for another residence. Let’s work for our people,” he added.
The city’s two previous elected Governors, Evans Kidero and Mike Sonko, opted to use their private residences during their time in office, although the county was mulling using what was the Mayor’s official residence along Isaac Gathanju Close in Lavington as the Governor’s residence.
Sakaja’s administration has previously pledged to build 20 new markets across the city for traders. Elected on a UDA ticket, the Governor in his manifesto promised to make the city friendlier for businesses and SMEs, promising among other things a unified electronic single business permit and an end to harassment by county officials.