KAMPALA–President Museveni has issued a directive putting in place tough travel restrictions against government officials intending to travel abroad.
In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, dated January 18,2018 and copied to all cabinet ministers and their juniors, the Premier quotes President Museveni as having got concerned over the hefty sums of money government loses in travels by its officials abroad.
“H.E the president has noted with concern that a lot of government expenditure is incurred on travel abroad by public officers and directed that this should stop,” Rugunda noted.
According to Rugunda, clearance for travel abroad and authority to purchase foreign currency will be restricted to only essential travels and government officials have been encouraged to use the country’s embassies and missions abroad to represent interests of the country in various conferences and meetings.
“All ministers and agencies should file quarterly returns to my office of the cleared trips made abroad by the staff and the amount of foreign exchange spent on these travels for monitoring purposes,” Rugunda added.
The communique to all ministers emphasises that these measures are meant to ensure that excessive expenditure on foreign trips is reduced and funds diverted to other programmes that benefit the economy.
“I would like to reiterate that no government official should travel abroad on official duty without clearance from the respective authority and these directive takes immediate effect,” Rugunda said.
When contacted, Julius Mucunguzi the Communications Advisor to the Prime Minister confirmed the communication but said it was informed by a cabinet decision made last year.
Last year, government banned travels for treatment abroad for its officials including ministers, Members of Parliament and other senior officials starting this year.
A report by the Internal Security Organization (ISO) released last year indicated that government spent Shs352b on travels both within and outside the country in the financial year 2016/17.