In his party manifesto, dubbed NEW DIRECTION manifesto, President Julius Maada Bio stated that his government will cut down travelling expenses and use part of that money to finance the Free Quality Education.
“Over the last 10 years, overseas travel was an expanding Government area. Despite the cosmetic austerity measures, reports show that the travel budget after austerity is higher than the pre–austerity period. For example, the attendance of the President to UN, AU or ECOWAS Summits cost over Le4.0 billion in each case,” the new direction Manifesto slammed former APC Govt.
Adding that “overseas travel expenses across the MDAs are uncontrollably higher, estimated at over Le250 billion or more than $30 million a year. We recognize that it may be impossible to reduce overseas travel to zero.”
Bio stated in his manifesto that in order to make savings, measures such as reduction of government delegation, use of Sierra Leone diplomatic missions to represent Government except where there are unavoidable statutory meetings that lead to net economic benefits and adopt travel policy across Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) on ticketing, travel per diem computation, categories of class of travel for each category of staff will be implemented
Despite all that promises on controlling government travelling expenses, document from the Ministry of Finance indicates that the SLPP Government spent over Le52.1 Billion in just two years-they spent 24.710 Billion Leone last year and 27.482 Billion in 2020.
The worst of it is that this money was spent when the old world was on travelling restriction because of COVID-19 but recently President Bio responded to critics of his frequent fast travelling by saying that he will continue to fly