How long can Officials Continue Flying in Business Class?


The Gambia is indebted to the tune of D58.7 billion in 2017 which is equivalent to $1.2 billion, 58% of which is external debt and 48% domestic leaving the economy as an undesirable one. It is because of all these reasons that government should look at its expenditures with cautiousness.
It has come to the notice of the Daily Newspaper that hundreds of thousands of dalsis is being paid by Gambia government to private airlines for carrying our senior and middle management officials to all directions of the world for conferences and other meetings.
Until recently, Gambia government was flying permanent secretaries, heads of agencies, heads of departments and others in their overseas travels in business class of air carriers; costing the state hundreds of thousands of dalsis monthly and into millions over months and that can translate into billions in years.
Thanks to the wise decision of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs for reversing that trend of government officials like: permanent secretaries, heads of agencies and other government officials to now desist from using business class to economy when flying.
With such pro-active step taken by the government, the state now can save a huge amount of money for national development.
The Daily News in as much as applauds the position of the government on cutting down cost by not allowing heads of agencies, permanent secretaries and department heads travelling in business classes; should consider applying the same rule on ministers who travel more frequent than their junior staffs. By that way, the government will save more money for the country.
Let’s look at the size of our cabinet and their frequency of travelling out of the county. It is definitely an undeniable fact that ministers travel more times than the junior staff whose means of flight is changed in the interest of saving more money.
The government of the Gambia should also look at the numerous travels of our state ministers some of which travels are statutory and an obligation to attend some of the overseas meetings; but the size of the delegations and mode of travel can be carefully looked at. This is one valve to be closed to help save more money for the country.
However, as a developing country with a highly indebted economy and with a budget deficit of $196 million in 2017 compared to half of that in 2016.
In 2017 our total debt stock reached D58.7 billion (around $1.2 billion) 52% external and 48% domestic; which increased slightly in 2018.
Taking all the above into account it is just not wise and cannot be called desirable financial discipline and therefore government should put her foot down and cut down some of the unnecessary expenditures in order to save money.
The state should also look at other expenditures such as government renting in private homes. There are a lot of government abandoned quarters in the up country laying waste.
In the urban areas too there are a lot of spaces where government can build structures for offices. It may be expensive but that will onlybe a one off expenditure; and will save the state lot of money for important development projects.


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