Return unused per diem, travel economy, Audit Chamber advises MPs & Ministers

   Return unused per diem, travel economy,  Audit Chamber advises MPs & Ministers

A summary of public sector travel by Ministers, MPs, and civil servants. The General Audit Chamber evaluation concluded a need for cost-efficient travel and measurable outcomes and included recommendations for improved transparency. This entails stopping first-class travel and returning unspent funds. It also investigated the effectiveness of Parlatino.



PHILIPSBURG--The General Audit Chamber believes that ministers, Members of Parliament (MPs) and other government entities travelling on government’s tab, should return the portion of the daily per diem they receive as this is public funds.

Ministers and MPs receive a US $400 (NAf. 720) daily per diem. The Chamber also believes that MPs and Ministers should travel economy class and not first class, and has recommended that economy class be the standard for all travel.

The recommendations were made in a report the Audit Chamber did evaluating the efficiency, effectiveness, and compliance of travel-related activities to ensure that public funds are used in a responsible and transparent manner.

The Chamber highlighted aspects of the report during a press conference at its office on Monday. The press conference marked the start of a campaign by the General Audit Chamber, a High Council, to sensitize the public about its purpose, role and functions.

A summary of the audit on travel-related activities was first released in a press release issued by the General Audit Chamber last year. Secretary General Keith de Jong alluded to the audit in his remarks during Monday’s press conference.

He said the audit revealed that Ministers and MPs are currently entitled to a US $400 daily per diem, which includes hotel costs, meals and incidentals. “We also found that there is no accountability on how the per diem is spent and MPs and ministers are entitled to travel first class and anyone travelling with Ministers and MPs are granted the same provisions. Civil servants on the other hand are only allowed to travel economy class and they also get a lower per diem,” de Jong told reporters.

“During our audit, we identified that there are no reporting requirements for MPs or Ministers so it’s very difficult for us to determine the value of money.

We recommended the following -make economy class the standard except for justifiable cases and based on, let’s say, amended legislation or policy with business class as the highest class. We find that economy class should be the base,” he noted.

“We also usually get the response in Parliament that this requires changing the law. Yes. That is true. However, it’s not against the law to fly economy class or business class for that matter. So, it’s not really necessary to change the law. We also recommend to require accountability of the per diem. We [recommend to] require that any per diem amount left unspent is returned because after all they remain public funds.”

The Audit Chamber also recommended pre-and post-travel reporting for ministers and MPs similar to civil servants to promote transparency, accountability and effectiveness. “Meaning what’s the goal of the intended travel, consider the options that are most efficient and you also have to give account for the amount spent and also what the outcomes were of the travel. And basically what did the taxpayer get in return.”

The Chamber also suggested that Parliament considers discontinuing its participation in Parlatino and explore other regional and more cost-efficient options.

“During our audit, we sent every MP a questionnaire on these points and we noticed most of the MPs that participated in the survey agreed with these recommendations. As far as we can determine, we have good hope that they will implement some of the changes at least to their current policy. We remain hopeful,” stated de Jong.

The Audit Chamber practices what it preaches. “It is also good to note that the General Audit Chamber has an internal policy which follows these recommendations as well and we advise Parliament, government and also government-related entities to adopt similar rules just in order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of expenditures after all it is taxpayers’ money. So far, several institutions have indicated to adhere to the recommendations in the near future,” stated de Jong.

The report is published in English and Dutch and is available on the General Audit Chamber website ( and via links on the General Audit Chamber’s social media platforms, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The Daily Herald

Copyright © 2020 All copyrights on articles and/or content of The Caribbean Herald N.V. dba The Daily Herald are reserved.

Without permission of The Daily Herald no copyrighted content may be used by anyone.

Comodo SSL

Hosted by

© 2024 The Daily Herald. All Rights Reserved.