The Head of European Studies at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, explained that government must ban medical travel by its appointees so they prioritise the development of the health system in Ghana.
The memo announcing the travel ban was signed by Chief of Staff Frema Osei-Opare, to all Ministers, Deputy Ministers; Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) as well as all heads of government institutions.
“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 minimising disruption to Government’s domestic work will be communicated to you shortly. Please acknowledge receipt and accept for strict compliance”, the internal memo which found its way into the media, said.
Prof Gyampo said this was a good decision since the trips come with a huge cost to the nation.
“The cost for many of the travels are shouldered by the state. These inter alia may include airfares, hotel accommodation, cost of feeding and huge travelling allowances or per diems that actually serve as good incentive for frivolous travels,” he wrote in a statement.
“Other trips that aren't paid for by the state, also cost the nation because work slows down in the absence of the top appointees.”
He suggested that “going forward, only conferences that brings us assistance in cash or in kind must be encouraged. These shouldn't be attended necessarily by top officials. They should be attended by technocrats who have what it takes to fully grasp what is discussed and can implement decisions taken.”
He said if medical travels are also banned the government appointees will be forced to prioritise the improvement of the healthcare system in the country.
“All foreign trips for medical checkups must be banned to force us to prioritise in improving healthcare home. Let appointees die here as a result of poor healthcare facilities to compel us to sit up. Ministers and top appointees who are caught traveling abroad to attend lectures must be sacked. Only Ministers who have the requisite qualifications should be appointed, not those who would want to use the opportunity given them to acquire degrees. Vacation travels and leave outside the country must be managed well so they don't halt work progress and impose a cost on the nation."