Govt clamps down on foreign travel, hampers Mr George Guvamatanga

Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter

THE practice of Government headquarters staff buying themselves hampers and vouchers has been blocked and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development has insisted that any Government travel must provide value for money.

This follows the insistence from the ministry for contractors to be vetted to avoid overcharging, and now under the same criteria, the civil service is coming under the spotlight with its discretionary spending.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Mr George Guvamatanga on Monday told a post-Budget seminar in Harare that Treasury had extended the policy to public officials.

“There was a practice that those of us working at (ministry) headquarters would give ourselves Christmas hampers and vouchers,” he said.

“As part of the public expenditure reforms, we have this year said no to hampers and vouchers. These are far reaching reforms we have adopted to ensure that resources are allocated where they are needed without questions.

“We are also tightening our expenditure on Government travel especially on the criteria where people can travel.”

Mr Guvamatanga cited an example of officials from an agency under his ministry who wanted to travel to Belgium for seven days for a two-hour meeting that could be attended virtually.

“They wanted to travel business class on Emirates and go to Belgium three days before the meeting and return three days after. They wanted to collect allowances for the hotel costs and others for attending the meeting.

“So you will realise that this is not only about Government contractors and suppliers but is a cross-cutting measure,” he said.

However, Mr Guvamatanga said Government would honour its obligations to contractors in full if the goods and services were correctly priced and would pay within 30 days.

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