Necessary New travel directive doesn't suggest existing abuse - Dr. Apaak

Dr. Apaa argued that the directive should be viewed as just a reminder to all government appointees to be mindful when using the public purse.

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A Presidential staffer, Dr. Clement Apaak has dismissed suggestions that the new travel directive issued by the Chief of Staff points to the existence of abuse by government appointees.

He argued that the directive should be viewed as just a reminder to all government appointees to be mindful when using the public purse.

“It does not mean that the current system is being abused…it is just a reminder for us to be circumspect and that at least we get clearance. That is the law; that is the policy,” he said on Radio Ghana’s Behind the News programme.

It has emerged that the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah has in a letter dated Novemebr 16, directed all Ministers who embark on official foreign travels on first class tickets to stop with immediate effect.

The letter also asked all Ministers to cut down on foreign travels in a bid to curtail government spending.

According to the Chief of Staff, “it is needless to emphasise the serious impact the current frequent travels abroad by Ministers and Public officials are having on government finances.”

Dr. Apaak explained that all government appointees report to the Chief of Staff therefore, when he issues a directive, “what it means is that if he does not approve a request to travel, then perhaps it does not meet the standard that has been set.”

He asked all those expressing discomfort that the new directive could unduly increase the powers of the Chief of Staff to “accept it in good faith because it is well intended.”

“The Chief of staff is the central engine in as far as government is concerned and he is the foremost representative of the President and the Vice President. Let’s leave it that way and see how it unfolds,” he added.

In a related development, a political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Evans Aggrey-Drako mentioned that the directive has always been in existence.

He argued that as a third world country, the least that can be done is to be prudent.

He nonetheless pointed out that “if these directives are not enforced religiously, they will just be on paper and people will still undermine the system. This calls for monitoring.”

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