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Treasury acts on VIP travel costs

AS Treasury clamps down on excessive VIP foreign travel costs, government ministers and senior civil servants are now required to first get approval from the Ministry of Finance before seeking cabinet authority to go abroad, a senior government official told parliament this week.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

Accountant-General and acting Finance ministry permanent secretary Judith Madzorera told the Finance and Budget Portfolio Committee on Monday that the new measures were introduced after most ministries and government departments overspent on foreign travel in the 2012 financial year.

The government spent nearly US$50million in foreign travel and subsistence allowances, far more than what was allocated for education or the energy sector. Education received US$25 million while energy projects got a US$16 million allocation in the 2012 budget.

“Treasury now advises the Office of President and Cabinet on foreign travel so that we keep expenditure within the budget,” Madzorera said.

She said this in response to Zvishavane-Ngezi MP Obert Matshalaga who wanted to know what government was doing to curb excessive government spending on travel.

Madzorera however conceded that it was difficult to curtail travel budgets for high offices like the presidency and prime-minister’s office, without naming them. “There are offices that are necessary for us to provide or fund because of their nature,” said Madzorera.

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