Government has restricted external travels for Cabinet ministers and other senior government officials effective August 15, 2023, in a desperate attempt to ease pressure on foreign exchange reserves.
This is according to a memo signed by Secretary to the Treasury MacDonald Mafuta Mwale, addressed to Secretary to the President and Cabinet, all controlling officers in government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) as well as chief executive officers of government enterprises and parastatals.
Reads the communication in part: “Malawi is currently facing harsh economic conditions with inflation rising to 27.0 percent for June 2023 and experiencing an acute scarcity of foreign exchange pressure on the exchange rate. One way through which we can control the drain on foreign exchange reserves, foreign travel by Government MDAs as well as State Owned Enterprises(SOEs), must be restricted.”
Mwale, further, stated that external travel beginning at Cabinet level should be restricted to extremely essential trips approved by the President upon the provision of proof of funding and availability of resources from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.
He said all principal secretaries, and directors from Government MDAs, CEOs, director generals and all senior management of SOEs should seek approval for any external travel from the Secretary to the President and Cabinet on condition that the Secretary to the Treasury provides proof of funding and availability of resources.
“Controlling Officers shall approve external travel only after consulting Treasury on availability of resources, proof of funding and budget allocation. The number and composition of a delegation traveling outside the country shall be approved by Secretary to the President and Cabinet. Where external travel is donor-funded, there shall be no government financial outlay in the form of top-up allowances towards such travel,” he said.
Last fiscal year, government introduced expenditure control measures, and according to Mwale, they contributed towards the realization of some savings on the external travel budget lines hence the need to continue implementing them in the current year.
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