Albertina Nakale Windhoek-President Hage Geingob yesterday issued a directive that there would be no foreign travel or trips for cabinet ministers, deputy ministers and other political office bearers. The directive, is with immediate effect. In a statement issued yesterday, Press Secretary in the Office of the President, Albertus Aochamub said the directive is specifically in the interest of curtailing public expenditure. He noted no request for outbound travel by ministers, deputy ministers and other political office bearers will be considered until after the end of February 2018. A Namibian political analyst has welcomed President Geingob’s ban on foreign trips, saying such overseas excursions are ruining the country’s balance of payment. Foreign trips are said to be a drain on the national treasury in terms of the pricey tickets and the hefty travel claims made by senior government and other officials when they travel. The pundit says this is in light of the fact that the government is experiencing cash-flow problems in the country which have affected education, health, defence and other sectors. “The hard currency is going. When you are leaving Namibia then you are taking money to other countries. It’s always good to cut that in order to save. I support the President in that regard,” Dr Andrew Niikondo, deputy vice-chancellor at the Namibia University of Science and Technology, (NUST) reacted to Geingob’s directive. Niikondo explained in order for the President to give such a directive, it was done out of well-calculated information when it comes to expenditure pertaining to international trips. He said the President cannot take such a decision without clear information regarding where government is spending a lot of money. “He has to take stock to see where government is spending a lot of money. He then has to take action of that nature in order to curb some of those things. For me it’s a brilliant idea if he is advised where much of the money is going,” he noted. Aochamub said the President has led by example on containing his own travel expenditure by only undertaking absolutely critical outbound travel and with smaller delegations since assuming office almost three years ago. The most recent actions have included him foregoing the use of the official Presidential jet; both for his December 2017 vacation and the recent AU Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The President instead chose to use scheduled commercial flights as they proved to be more cost-effective for the routes he travelled. This is not the first time President Geingob is imposing such a foreign travel ban. A month after he assumed power in 2015, Geingob made the announcement to Cabinet ministers, permanent secretaries and governors that no outbound travel requests by ministers would be approved at that time in order for them to focus on solving national issues. During that year, the President did not mince his words when he said some ministers were going on global trips to claim travel allowances, which ran into thousands of dollars. At the time, Geingob had said only Deputy Prime Minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah who is also the Minister of International Relations, was allowed to travel outside the country.
2018-02-01 08:52:56 7 months ago