Over the weekend, an executive directive from the Office of the President banning all foreign travels of Government officials for the rest of the year was relayed by the government spokesperson. The spokesperson shared the information with the media through a press release.
It is clear that foreign travel is extremely expensive and costs the government millions of dalasi every year. Not only does foreign travel require air tickets and hotel accommodations but also per diems paid to those who travel.
Considering the high cost of living and the difficulties citizens are faced with due to these, it will certainly be welcome news to many citizens in the country. According to the press release, it is not only the ministers or those lower than them but even the president and his deputy will not be travelling either.
Of course, there are exceptions. The press release stipulates that statutory meetings where The Gambia’s participation is mandatory and foreign trips which are fully funded by external sources are the only ones that are allowed. These will be continued as necessary ones for the growth and wellbeing of the country.
It is however not clear what prompted the suspension of all foreign travels but one thing is clear, that it is a highly welcome move by the Government at this material point in time. The ordinary citizens see this as something that is highly essential and it will perhaps increase the credibility of the Government of President Adama Barrow.
Some critics however see this as a move that is too little too late as the year is almost at its end and the money that will be saved by this move may not be that much. According to some, the government has already exhausted the budget for traveling and that is why they are now coming up with this move.
Whatever the case may be, if it will save a few millions to be used in other more essential areas, then it is a good move which needs to be welcomed. Foreign travel is good in some instance as it can be used as a means of getting investment into the country but there should definitely be a limit to it so that the expenses may not strain the taxpayers’ coffers.
It is important that the ordinary people are always kept in view when resources are utilized. If this is done, then a lot of resources can be saved so that their needs are met at all times.