The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs has issued a travel ban on all government funded travels with effect from 1st October 2018 for the rest of the year. The move, according to a letter released from the ministry, is necessitated by the large expenditure government incurred on travels in the first half of the year 2018.
It could be recalled that a week earlier, the minister revealed to the National Assembly that from January to July 2018, the Government of The Gambia spent over two hundred and thirty million dalasis on travel alone.
There followed a public outcry and condemnation over the huge amount of money expended by the Government on travel. The public complained that given the economic hardships the country is currently facing; and given that the government has announced that over 1.7 million Gambians will need food aid in the coming year, it is insensitive to spend such a huge amount on travel.
Following these complaints, the Ministry of Finance issued the said travel ban. This shows that the government is at least listening to the people and that the complaints of the public reach – and is being considered – by the government of The Gambia. This shows that citizens should continue to engage the government in the way and manner the affairs of the nation are being managed.
Now what needs to follow is the implementation of this travel ban in full. The public should continue to monitor and see whether the government is following through to see that it is not only a ban on paper, but is implemented as well.