Govt. suspends locally funded official travel

By Deidre Tautua – Fanene ,

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Agafili Shem Leo.

Agafili Shem Leo.

Cabinet has suspended all official travel for Government officials that are fully funded by the local budget – unless a special approval is granted.

The suspension became effective in March and will be reviewed at the end of June.

The order made to all Government Chief Executive Officers is revealed in a letter by the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo, leaked to the Samoa Observer.

Dated 17 March 2018, the Attorney General, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Chief Auditor and Controller and the Ombudsman are copied.

“Following the aftermaths of Cyclone Gita that struck Samoa in late February, immediate repair works for basic utilities began. To date, electricity and water have been restored but a recovery programme for greater and long-term damages caused by Gita will soon be rolled out,” Agafili writes.

“In this connection, Cabinet has instructed that all planned overseas official travels which are fully or mostly funded from the local budget have now been suspended until the end of June this year.”

But the order doesn’t mean Government officials cannot travel.

“Cabinet however may consider and decide on a case by case basis, any fully funded travel proven beyond any reasonable doubt that a representative or a delegation from Samoa should attend. “Ministries and Corporations are asked to communicate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to arrange for our overseas-based embassies closer to the meeting destination to represent Samoa as per government policy.”

The letter also asks that priority be given to efforts to save money.

“Ministries and Corporations are kindly asked to reprioritize their savings on the most urgent repair works needed for their premises and assets damaged by the cyclone. 

“The Ministry of Finance and Boards of Directors are requested to strictly monitor spending for the remainder of the Financial Year Recovery works for Cyclone Gita should be prioritized with savings identified from the current budget.”

The letter from Agafili is published in full below:

17 March 2018

All Chief Executive Officers

Attorney General

Chairman of the Public Service Commission

Chief Auditor and Controller 

Ombudsman

Suspension of Fully Funded Official Travels from March to June 2018

Following the aftermaths of Cyclone Gita that struck Samoa in late February, immediate repair works for basic utilities began. To date, electricity and water have been restored but a recovery programme for greater and long term damages caused by Gita will soon be rolled out.

In this connection, Cabinet has instructed that all planned overseas official travels which are fully or mostly funded from the local budget have now been suspended until the end of June this year.

Cabinet however may consider and decide on a case by case basis, any fully funded travel proven beyond any reasonable doubt that a representative or a delegation from Samoa should attend. Ministries and Corporations are asked to communicate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to arrange for our overseas based embassies closer to the meeting destination to represent Samoa as per government policy.

Ministries and Corporations are kindly asked to reprioritize their savings on the most urgent repair works needed for their premises and assets damaged by the cyclone. The Ministry of Finance and Boards of Directors are requested to strictly monitor spending for the remainder of the Financial Year Recovery works for Cyclone Gita should be prioritize with savings identified from the current budget.

I thank you for your kindest understanding. Faamanuia le Atua i lo outou punoua’i aua la tatou tautua i Samoa.

Ma le Fa’aaloalo 

Agafili Shem Leo

CEO/SECRETARY TO CABINET

Cc: Hon Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers

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