A Deputy Chief of Staff, Samuel Abu Jinapor, does see why the government should be more transparent with records about the travels of some Ministers, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives abroad.
Though Mr. Jinapor said he did not have such records readily available, he also said he was “not sure of the usefulness of putting that information out.”
He was commenting on the temporary ban of government appointees’ trips abroad on the Citi Breakfast Show.
In justifying his assertion, Mr. Jinapor argued that such a move “will be unnecessarily prejudicial.”
“It will just create the impression that a particular minister doesn’t stay at home to work… travelling out may be consequences or a derivative of his core mandate,” he argued.
The Deputy Chief of Staff suggested further that the media does its own digging if it wants information on the matter.
“With all due respect and in all humility and honesty, you are a journalist and that is one of your cardinal duties. Why don’t you get to work on that and inform the public,” he retorted to the Citi Breakfast Show host, Bernard Avle.
This is despite suggestions that the temporary ban was put in place because appointees were spending too much time abroad at the expense of work, and also draining the public coffers.
He said the government is only seeking to streamline the guidelines for foreign travels by appointees.
“It is not because ministers are travelling too much. That is never the case. You can do that comparative analysis over the years as to how travel has been and also on the usefulness of the travels.”
With the impending framework, he said government officials will be “appraised of the sort of travels they will be permitted to embark on and those that will be frowned upon.”
In a memo sighted by Citi News, signed by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Opare, the presidency noted that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor-Botchwey, was the only appointee exempted from the directive.
“The President of the Republic has directed that, all foreign travels by Hon. Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MMDCEs and Heads of Government Agencies be temporarily suspended with immediate effect. Guidelines in respect of future foreign travels aimed at minimizing disruption to Government’s domestic work will be communicated to you shortly. The Hon. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is however exempted from this temporary ban on foreign travels.”
A similar travel restriction was placed on government officials in December 2015 under the Mahama government.
He banned public officials from first-class air travel to cut wasteful spending.
At least, one official has complained about incessant travels on the taxpayers’ book.
Akua Djanie, who resigned from her position as the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Tourist Development Company, alleged among other things that her boss, was fond of travelling outside the country, neglecting the core duties at the company.