January 31, 2018 / 12:59 PM / 2 years ago

Namibia suspends foreign travel for public officials to cut costs

Namibian President Hage Geingob addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Namibia’s President Hage Geingob has banned all foreign travel by public officials until at least the end of February in a bid to rein in government expenditure, the presidency said on Wednesday.

Namibia’s government is facing a severe cash crunch that has resulted in budget cuts across ministries as the economy struggles to recover from deep contractions in the construction, uranium and diamond industries.

“No request for outbound travel by Ministers, Deputy Ministers and other Political Office Bearers will be considered until after the end of February,” a presidency statement said.

“This directive is specifically in the interest of curtailing public expenditure.”

Namibia’s Defence Force said this week it can no longer afford to buy food for soldiers or pay water and electricity bills at its bases.

Thousands of army personnel will be forced to take leave next month while those already on holiday have been asked not to report for duty, the defence force said.

Reporting by Nyasha Nyaugnwa; Editing by Joe Brock

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