President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday warned Cabinet ministers against globetrotting with no tangible results and instead focus on developmental programmes in line with Vision 2030.
He said the unnecessary foreign trips by Cabinet ministers must stop immediately.
The President made the remarks while addressing ministers at the first 2022 Cabinet meeting at the State House in Harare yesterday. He said:
… I have observed a worrisome trend where, as ministers, you are now prone to foreign travel, along with your senior officials. This unbecoming culture should stop forthwith.
Former Finance minister and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) vice-president Tendai Biti dismissed Mnangagwa’s statements on foreign travels as a trick intended to attract attention and mislead the public. Said Biti:
It is deceit and lies. No Cabinet minister travels out of the country without Cabinet approval and it’s Mnangagwa who issues Cabinet approval.
No minister travels out of the country without the approval of the President.
This is just a statement full of dishonesty because Mnangagwa is the one who signs the approvals for the trip.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance chairperson Mathew Nyashanu told NewsDay that most foreign travel by government officials was unnecessary. He said:
While foreign travel is necessary for appreciation of best practices across the globe through benchmarking exercises and for research and development, some of the travels by government officials is extremely wasteful and unnecessary.
This is bleeding an already burdened fiscus. The President’s comment is in line with the ongoing Public Finance Management reforms, where we are trying to tighten screws on public expenditure.
We are in the process of strengthening our Public Finance Management in order to reduce such leakages.