Government has set stringent terms for officials’ foreign trips; a move Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda says is intended and also “enhance on the controls in government regarding travel abroad.”
In his letter dated June 13, Rugunda told all ministers and ministers of state that travel budgets for Ministries, Departments and agencies have been slashed.
The Premier further instructed ministers to ensure all travels of government officials are approved by his office.
Rugunda said he had noted that some agencies’ staff travel abroad on official duties without clearance from his office.
In the new guidelines, Rugunda told ministers “for all travels, you should keep the delegations lean but appropriate for effective representation.”
He also said all submissions from the ministries to his office on travel abroad should be signed by cabinet ministers or in their absence, by the ministers of state holding portfolio respectively.
Rugunda went ahead to state that submissions from statutory commissions should be signed by their chairpersons.
District officials, municipalities, town councils and sub-counties will see their officials intending to travel abroad get clearance from Minister of Local Government before submissions are made to the office of prime minister.
For other self-accounting government institutions, travel arrangements need the endorsement of Chief Executive Officers such as Universities by Vice Chancellors.
It remains unclear if the Office of the Prime Minister has the capacity o effectively handle hundreds of requests for foreign travel.
Without ample capability, the OPM could lead to bureaucracy, inconvenience and unnecessary delays for officials’ foreign trips.
But liberals will applaud the move as it could see unnecessary trips cancelled hence saving taxpayers’ money.
“Please take note and ensure compliance to these measures within your respective sectors,” said Rugunda, urging government agencies playing oversight roles to ensure “compliance.”