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General News of Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

PAC recommends budget for stranded Ghanaians abroad

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee is recommending that specific budgetary allocation be made to take care of Ghanaians stranded abroad.

This follows revelations by the Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey at the Committee’s sitting Tuesday that work is becoming difficult for staff in the country's embassies abroad.

In a response to how issues of stranded citizens abroad are dealt with in the absence of specified funds, the minister said embassy workers, have in some cases, taken care of expenses on stranded citizens.

She said these workers provide funds for the upkeep of the stranded citizens.

“Consular services can sometimes demand that you find the money, indeed sometimes the officers even contribute their own resources to look after such persons.

“Because otherwise, our nationals will shout on every roof top against us,” she added.

But Chairman of the Committee, James Avedzi was not happy with the development. He said adequate measures must be put in place to address the situation.

“You budget for it, if you budget for it and you don’t utilize it, it still remains with us. Because when it comes to the point where the staff have to contribute…they do it on humanitarian grounds but they are being affected.

“So I think that there is the need for us to create a budget so that the ministry will have that budget appropriated every year for you to undertake these activities,” he added.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix in March this year revealed that 62,422 Ghanaians were identified in different cities and detention centres in Libya.

That number, it said, ranks Ghanaians in Libya fifth after Egyptian, Nigerien, Chadian and Sudanese nationals out of 38 different nationalities in that country.

Since June 2017, a total of 706 (661 men, 45 women) Ghanaians stranded in Libya have been assisted to return home voluntarily with the majority of the returnees, 70 percent, being returned from various detention centres in Libya, while the rest are from the cities.