The Gambian government has imposed a travel ban on all public officials, except for what Finance Minister Mamburay Njie calls “essential statutory meetings” with effect from October 1, 2018, the Freedom Newspaper can report. Njie, in a press release issued September 26th, said that the travel ban is necessitated by the overall fiscal slippages on travels and to ensure to expenses are within the overall travel expenditure ceiling of the 2018 budget as approved by the National Assembly.
“The measure is needed to free up spending for social services such as Education, Health to engender economic growth and microeconomic stability,” Finance Minister Njie stated.
According to Finance Minister Njie, the travel ban also applies to all Non-Subvented Agencies, State Owned Enterprises and Central Bank of The Gambia. This he said, is part of the broader government efforts at fiscal consolidation across all levels of government.
“This expanded scope will improve the financial position of all relevant institutions to enable them to pay statutory tax payments and potential dividends to government, where applicable,” Njie remarked.
The travel ban imposed on public officials follows criticism heaped on President Adama Barrow and his delegation to the UN General Assembly Summit for chattering a private jet to attend the Summit. Mr. Barrow has been shuttling in and out of the country with private jet services since he was voted into office back in December of 2016.
Meanwhile, national developmental sectors such as education, health, infrastructure, and agriculture have collapsed. The country is on the brink of facing a major economic recession, in view of the government’s lack of fiscal discipline, according to one economic analyst.