By Enyichukwu Enemanna
In a bid to reduce public spending, President of Gambia, Adama Barrow has suspended all foreign travels by government functionaries, including himself, a government spokesman announced on Saturday.
The President assented to an Executive Order “suspending all overseas travels by the president, the vice-president, cabinet ministers, senior government officials, civil servants and employees across all government institutions and agencies,” throughout the fiscal year, presidential spokesman Ebrima Sankareh said in a statement.
However, functions where Gambian participation is compulsory and foreign trips entirely financed by external sources will be exempt, the statement added.
The African smallest country has a population of little above two million.
It ranks 174th out of 191 on the UN’s Human Development Index, which includes health, education and standard of living criteria.
According to the World Bank, over a fifth of the population lives on less than two dollars a day, even as annual inflation reached 11.6 percent last year.
With tax revenues falling, and high state subsidies on fuel, fertiliser and grain due to the effects of the Ukraine war, the budget deficit widened last year
The budget deficit and debt levels have also risen, as tax revenues have fallen and due to higher subsidies for fuel, fertilisers and cereals as a result of the war in Ukraine.