By: Nyima Sillah
The NAM for Serekunda West has told The Voice that the Gambia government has spent D491, 777,057.74on foreign travel in three years.
He explained that OP and Foreign Affairs Ministry spent the largest chunk of money on foreign trips.
The SK West NAM said the Office of the President OP) alone spent D232, 086,460.50 on overseas travel in 2022.
Meanwhile, according to Mr. Ceesay, the Presidency used D35, 622,967.97 on foreign travel in 2020 whilst it consumed D78, 579,571.93 in 2021.
He explained that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has used up D36, 126,672.96 on foreign travel in 2020 but that this sum dropped to D35, 522,9444.52 in 2021 before it rose to D36,652,795.99 in 2022.
“I believe that the recent suspension of foreign travel is positive because if you look at the travel budget of government ministries, it’s a huge chunk of the budget,” Ceesay admitted.
He expressed the belief that the temporary freeze on foreign travel will help the government save money for “important national issues”.
The UDP legislator explained that the government was able to save over D500m during the Covid-19 pandemic thanks to the ban on international travel, describing the Presidential Order to temporarily suspend international travel as a positive development.
“He (President Barrow) should be commended. It’s a commendable action on the part of the President,”Ceesay stated.
He, however, opined that the President’s move could have been dictated by the current economic realities of the country.
Ceesay pointed out that more money could’ve been saved if the suspension was imposed in the past eight months.