General News Thu, 11 Oct 2018

Chief of Staff to approve foreign travels by government appointees – Hadzide

A Deputy Information Minister, Pius Enam Hadzide, has told Citi News that the office of the Chief of Staff has published guidelines on travels by Ministers and other appointees.

This follows the issuance of a travel ban on all such travels four months ago.

The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah in an open letter to the Chief of Staff on Wednesday, demanded an update on the directive on foreign travels.

Ablakwa expressed dissatisfaction that four months after the directive, the government was yet to release its new guidelines covering travels of appointees despite an assurance it was going to do that “soon.”

In an open letter copied to citinewsroom.com, the North Tongu constituency legislator said if an update is provided on the matter, it will help build confidence “in our governance processes so that matters of this nature are not thought of as propaganda stunts.”

Ablakwa said there is cause for concern over the government’s silence on the ban, especially as the government continues to purchase more cars despite a public statement that procurement of new vehicles by Ministries, Departments and Agencies had been banned.

But Mr. Hadzide has told Citi News the guidelines have since been published.

“Indeed, those guidelines have been made and it applies to those concerned. I can confirm to you that I have received communication that has sought to regulate first of all Ministries, departments and agencies. All government appointees were requested to furnish the office of the Chief of Staff with the relevant and necessary statutory travel engagements of the Ministries.”

“If you have to attend some conferences, if you have to attend some meetings, maybe United Nations or AU or any multilateral or bilateral engagements that Ghana is committed to and you have to travel, you are supposed to, in accordance with the guidelines, furnish the office of the Chief of Staff way in advance, and that has happened. Beyond that, to be able to travel, you have to write to establish to the Chief of Staff, the need or a justification. You have to seek and obtain express approval from the office of the Chief of Staff to be able to travel, and I can assure that government appointees continue to comply with those directives and guidelines.”

Foreign affairs minister exempted from the ban

In June 2018, President Nana Akufo-Addo banned all Ministers, Deputy ministers, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) and Heads of government agencies from traveling outside the country.

The memo, which was signed by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Opare said the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor-Botchwey was exempted from the directive.

The last time a similar travel restriction for government officials was imposed was in December 2015 under the John Mahama government, where he banned public officials from first-class air travel as part of efforts to cut wasteful spending.

Some officials in government have had the cause to complain about incessant travels of some appointees who in most cases are unable to justify why they traveled outside the country.

Bawumia’s UNCTAD delegation from Ghana was 16, not 21 – Boako

A list which captures the names of a 21-member Ghanaian delegation to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 2017, has caused mixed reactions on social media with some citizens trolling the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia for leading such a huge entourage to Geneva at the expense of the state.

Those trolling the Vice President say they do not understand why a lot of people were on the trip especially when other countries fielded between one and five officials.

Dr. Bawumia according to the list, had his personal photographer, videographer, ADC and protocol among others. On the whole, Ghana is reported to have sent the biggest delegation to the conference.

Dr. Gideon Boako (Economic Adviser/Spokesperson) and Prof. Joe Amoako-Tuffour (Secretary to the Economic Management Team) were all captured on the list as part of the delegation.

Former Deputy Communications Minister, Felix Kwakye Ofosu on his Facebook wall said the number is “quite frankly, a disgrace.”

“Even more disgraceful is the ‘explanation’ being circulated by government sources. There can be no justification for such irresponsible waste of State resources,” he added.

Source: citinewsroom.com