President Nana Akufo-Addo’s temporary ban on all foreign trips by his all appointees, is aimed at helping “standardise” the modalities and guidelines for such trips, Deputy Chief of Staff Samuel Abu Jinapor, has said.
A memo announcing the travel ban has been circulated by Chief of Staff Frema Osei-Opare, to all Ministers, Deputy Ministers; Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) as well as all heads of government institutions.
The ban excludes only the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway.
According to the memo, “The President of the Republic has directed that all foreign travels by Hon. Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MMDCEs and Heads of Government Agencies be temporarily suspended with immediate effect.
“Guidelines in respect of future foreign travels aimed at minimising disruption to Government’s domestic work, will be communicated to you shortly.
“The Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is, however, exempted from this temporary ban on foreign travels.
“Please acknowledge receipt and accept for strict compliance”, the internal memo which found its way into the media, said.
Clarifying the reasoning behind the ban, Mr Jinapor told Daniel Dadzie on Accra-based Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Monday, 25 June 2018 that: “You may know that since the inception of the fourth republican dispensation, the Chief of Staff has had the responsibility and prerogative to approve or disapprove travel requests by government officials. Now, there’s never been any guidelines, modalities or standardisation within which she exercises this discretion and which also informs the travel arrangements of government officials.
“The president is of the view that it’s about that time that we standardised the modalities relating to foreign travels by government officials”, he added.
Mr Jinapor said, “For instance, what sort of conference should elicit the representation of the minister, or his deputy or a director at the Ministry or a head of an agency; or what sort of conference should even elicit a representation by Ghana at all. But really the idea is to fashion out standardised guidelines where every government official will know that an invitation of this nature, if I were to apply for permission to travel, given the guidelines, I be granted permission or not”.
“They [guidelines] are being put together” … “as soon as possible,” Mr Jinapor added.
According to him, “The president is very insistent on Ministers attending Cabinet meetings, so, unless it is extremely essential, the Chief of Staff… will normally”.