CONSOLIDATION

State to cut down on multiple tourism ministry parastatals

The ministry has 13 parastatals

In Summary

•In February, National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said the country has close to 400 state agencies,  some with duplicating roles.

•PS Kwekwe says the newly forme convention bureau is tasked with marketing Kenya as a top Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) destination.

Tourism PS Safina Kwekwe during a past function.
Tourism PS Safina Kwekwe during a past function.
Image: JACK OWOUR

Anxiety is high at the Tourism ministry over the planned merger of state agencies with duplicating roles even as the Principal Secretary Safina Kwekwe defended their existence.

In February, National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said the country has close to 400 State agencies, half of them being regulatory bodies.

“Some play duplicating roles. We are trying to look for ways on how to harmonise all these laws,“ Yatani said at an SMEs Conference and Expo in Nairobi.

The tourism ministry is among those with numerous state agencies, some seen to duplicate roles.

 

Kwekwe has since separated the roles of the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB), Kenya National Convention Bureau (KNCB) and the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), which are focused on leisure and business tourism.

The newly formed KNCB is tasked with marketing Kenya as a top Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) destination, the PS said.

It is expected to work closely with hotels, conference venues, tourism stakeholders and government entities to increase the number of visitors into the country, with a keen eye on conference tourism.

While KICC has been conducting individual campaigns and bids to attract global conferences to Nairobi, the PS has indicated the role will not be plaid by the bureau.

“KICC is a venue in the menu of the bureau to be marketed,” Kwekwe told the Standing Committee on Tourism, Trade and Industrialisation, chaired by Wajir senator Abdullahi Ali, on Wednesday.

She said KTB on the other hand markets Kenya as a leisure destination.

The lead agency is mandated to market Kenya at local, national, regional and international levels as a premier tourist destination.

 

The tourism ministry has at least 13 parastatals which include Brand Kenya, tasked with implementing export promotion and national branding initiatives and policies to promote Kenya’s export of goods and services.

In 2018, the Cabinet approved the merger of Export Promotion Council and the Brand Kenya Board to create Kenya Export Promotion and Branding Agency (KEPROBA).

“KEPROBA will be a one-stop-shop for all trade promotion and branding activities covering local as well as regional and international engagements so as to eliminate duplication and hence create a uniform image of Kenya,” a statement from Presidential Service Communication Unit said at the time.

There is also the Tourism Finance Corporation provides a range of financial services to investors in tourism-related enterprises.

This is separate from the  Tourism Fund whose mandate is to mobilise resources to finance the development of the tourism industry.

The Tourism Research Institute (TRI) is mandated to undertake and coordinate tourism research and data analysis for the country.

The Tourism Regulatory Authority (TRA) on the other hand regulates the tourism sector in Kenya, including developing regulations, standards, and guidelines that are necessary to ensure an all-round quality service delivery in the tourism sector.

Other parastatals are Kenya Safari Lodges and Hotels Limited, Kenya Utalii College, Bomas of Kenya, and the Kenya Wildlife Service Training Institute (KWSTI).

According to CS Yatani, multiple state corporations will either come under one entity or be reduced, where in some cases, up to ten agencies can be placed under one entity.

This is aimed at cutting the public wage bill which has almost tripled in the last 10 years from Sh173.5 billion in 2009/10 financial year to Sh483.5 billion in the financial year ended June (2019/20) fiscal year.

According to 2019/20 fiscal year estimates, the public wage bill accounted for 27.5 per cent and 23.2 per cent of total recurrent expenditure and government revenues respectively.

In his Sh2.79 trillion 2020/21 financial year spending plan, Yatani projects recurrent expenditures at Sh1.82 trillion or 16.2 percent of GDP, more than the country’s ordinary revenue collections.