Over 5,000 civil staff went on foreign junkets last year

- Post Report, Kathmandu
Cutting down on the practice of foreign junkets was one of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s first instructions when he assumed office on February 15

Aug 9, 2018-Civil servants continue to defy the government’s instructions to refrain from taking up sponsored foreign trips. More than 5,000 civil servants from various ministries went on foreign junkets last year, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Cutting down on the practice was one of Prime Minister KP Oli’s first instructions when he took office on February 15. The PMO instructed all the ministries to provide a list of officials who left for foreign junkets in the last fiscal year.  

PMO Under Secretary Bishnu Ghimire said on Wednesday that the office has received data of over 5,000 civil servants who had gone on sponsored trips. The Ministry of Agriculture topped the unenviable list, with as many as 550 of its officials going on such trips.

“We are looking into the details to segregate which ministry tops the list, types of visits and exploring ways to regulate such foreign visits. We will come up with a new circular shortly,” Ghimire said.

Following a surge in the number of civil servants going abroad on sponsored trips, the government in 2015 had instructed all the ministries to cut down on such visits and make public the list on their respective websites.

None of the ministries adhered to the PMO’s instruction at the time. But three years on, the PMO on Tuesday made public the list of officials who went on foreign junkets in the past four months.

The PMO has also instructed the ministries to provide details of each official who had gone on such trips, but it has not received all the data yet. “Only some ministries have forwarded details on the sponsors,” said Ghimire.

To discourage foreign junkets funded by taxpayers’ money, the government has tightened procedures to obtain diplomatic and official approval for lawmakers, chiefs and deputy chiefs of local bodies.

On June 12, the federal government made it mandatory for officials and staff of local governments planning foreign visits to obtain the approval of Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration. The ministry said officials travelling abroad without approval, would not get recommendation for visa from the Department of Consular Service under the Foreign Ministry.

Published: 09-08-2018 08:28

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