Presidency strips Ministers of ‘first class’ travels

President John Mahama and Cheif of Staff, Julius Debrah

All government ministers who embark on official foreign travels on first class tickets have been directed by the presidency to stop with immediate effect.

Government has also directed all its ministers to cut down on foreign travels in a bid to curtail government spending.

The directive was issued in a letter  from the office of the president and signed by the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah on November 16.

Even though government has not clearly stated exactly how much these travels cost government, the Chief of Staff expressed some concerns.

“It is needless to emphasise the serious impact the current frequent travels abroad by Ministers and Public officials are having on government finances,” he said.

The letter further directed the ministers to use business class instead of first class flights when need arises.

“To arrest the situation all Hon. Ministers are reminded to restrict foreign travels in their sectors to mandatory international assignments only. All non-essential travels are to be stopped. Hon. Ministers are also entreated to travel by Business Class and not first class, as stated in the letter,” the statement added.

The order follows a similar directive by the President of Tanzania, John Magufuli who has restricted all first and business class travel to government officials, except the president, vice president and prime minister.

Ghana’s government under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, is being restricted in its spending to reduce the budget deficit to meet the 2016 target of 7.3% of GDP.

President John Mahama himself suffered criticisms from some Ghanaians in 2014 which they questioned his frequent foreign travels, during which the minority in Parliament described it as wasteful.


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