Hon. Yumkella announced the motion in the budget debate and Hon. Daniel Koroma submitted the same motion to the Speaker.
The Speaker Hon. Abass Chernor Bundu commended the two MPs for their action following the right procedures under the Standing Order SO42 which inter-alia allows Parliament to reverse its decisions “upon a substantive motion made after notice.”
In recent years, the amount of spending on government overseas travel has been substantial (Le40.2B in 2017 and Le 29.2B in 2018). The expenditure on overseas traveling for the year 2017 supersedes the entire budget for the Ministry of Sport; Youth; Tourism; Social Welfare; Fisheries and Marines Resource combined for 2018.
The 2020 Finance Act has provision that has changed the PFM Act, which allows a ‘non-accountable imprest to provide for daily international travel expenses excluding purchase of tickets incurred by the President, Vice-President and the Speaker of Parliament’. This lack of accountability on expenditure for traveling is unacceptable, particularly the increment on spending in this area; and the minimal resources available for development spending in the country.
This provision will limit the Audit Service’s mandate from auditing that particular budget line, hence decreasing accountability as opposed to increasing it as stated in the New Direction Manifesto. Most people recommend that all traveling expenses be accounted for to ensure transparency and proper use of tax payer’s money, as well as calling on the President not to give his assent to the 2020 Finance Act and give a rethink on the non- accountable imprest for the love of the nation. The debate continues today.