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Tinubu places ban on public-funded foreign trips for government officials



Tinubu places ban on public-funded foreign trips for government officials

Tinubu places ban on public-funded foreign trips for government officials



President Bola Tinubu has issued a directive prohibiting ministers and other government officials from embarking on public-funded trips abroad.


Effective April 1, 2024, the ban is to span three months in a decisive step towards fiscal responsibility within the administration.


The directive, communicated through a letter signed by Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff to the President, and addressed to George Akume, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, underscores President Tinubu’s concerns regarding the escalating travel expenses incurred by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the government.


The emphasis is placed on refocusing cabinet members and heads of MDAs on their core mandates to ensure optimal service delivery amidst prevailing economic challenges. “In light of the current economic climate and the imperative for prudent fiscal management, Mr. President has directed a temporary ban on all public-funded international trips for Federal Government officials across all levels, commencing from April 1, 2024, for an initial three-month period”, the letter stated.


Crucially, the directive mandates that government officials seeking to embark on public-funded international trips must obtain presidential approval at least two weeks prior to their departure.


Furthermore, such trips are expected to be deemed “absolutely necessary” in line with the administration’s commitment to rationalise expenditure. The decision comes against the backdrop of a recent controversial workshop organised by the Accountant General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Madein, in the United Kingdom.


The workshop, attended by commissioners of finance from all 36 states and other government officials, attracted widespread criticism for its timing amid Nigeria’s economic downturn. Held at the Copthorne Tara Hotel, Kensington London, from March 4 to March 9, 2024, the event drew ire from citizens who questioned the justification for conducting such training abroad when domestic fiscal priorities demand attention.


This move aligns with President Tinubu’s ongoing efforts to streamline government spending. In January, he initiated a reduction in the size of his official entourage to just 20 individuals, setting an example for his team to follow.


This decision followed public backlash over the expenditure incurred during the last Conference of Parties (COP28) held in the United Arab Emirates. President Tinubu’s decisive action underscores a commitment to prudent fiscal management and prioritizing the needs of Nigerians amidst economic challenges. By restricting public-funded foreign trips for government officials, the administration aims to redirect resources towards critical domestic priorities, ensuring accountability and efficiency in governance.

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