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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Tinubu places three-month ban on foreign trips for ministers, heads of agencies, others

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President Bola Tinubu has placed three- months ban on ministers, heads of agencies, and other government officials from embarking on publicly funded foreign trips.

The ban, which will last for three months in the first instance, will take effect on April 1, 2024.

The ban letter, dated March 12, 2024, was signed by the Chief of Staff to the president, Femi Gbajabiamila; and addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume.

Recall that the President in January, issued an order to reduce the number of people accompanying him on both local and foreign trips, noting that his delegation members should be at most 25 for local travels and 20 for international trips.

He also mandated that security agents at his destination should provide his protection instead of being accompanied by many security personnel from Abuja.

This came following the backlash he faced during and after the last twenty-eighth Conference of Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates, which about 590 Nigerian officials attended.

Responding to the public outburst, the government said it provided funding for only 422 out of the 590 individuals in the delegation.

The letter indicating the ban read in part, “Mr President has concerns about the rising cost of travel expenses borne by Ministries, Department and Agencies of Government as well as the growing need for cabinet members and heads of MDAs to focus on their respective mandates for effective service delivery.

“Considering the current economic challenges and the need for responsible fiscal management, I am writing to communicate Mr Presideni’s directive to place a temporary ban on all public funded international trips for all Federal Government officials at all levels, for an initial period of three months from Ist April 2024.”

According to the letter, the ban aimed to reduce governance costs.

It added, “This temporary measure is aimed at cost reduction in governance and intended as a cost-saving measure without compromising government functions.”

Tinubu added that government officials who intend to go on any public funded foreign trip must seek and get presidential approval at least two weeks before embarking on any such trip, which must be ‘deemed absolutely necessary’.

It added, “All government officials who intend to go on any public funded international trips must seek and obtain Presidential approval at least two weeks prior to embarking on any such trip, which must be deemed absolutely necessary.”

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