Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has reduced the number and duration of foreign trips made by government officials, a move interpreted as a ‘cost-saving measure.’
In a statement, Willie Bassey, the Director of Information at the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said that the President also cut down the number of persons permitted to travel with ministers and other government officials for official trip.
“In a bid to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of resources of government, Buhari has approved for immediate implementation, additional cost-saving measures aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly in the area of official travels,” the statement reads.
Furthermore, the statement said, “travel days will no longer attract payment of estacode allowance as the duration of official trips shall be limited to only the number of days of the event as contained in the supporting documents to qualify for public funding.”
From now on, ministers are required to travel in business class while other lower categories of government officials will fly economy.
The President also added that approval of such trips must be sought through the office of the SGF or Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.
In line with the government’s goal of achieving fiscal prudence through these requirements, all persons must submit their yearly travel plans for meetings and engagement on it within the first quarter of the year before implementation.
“Also, when a minister is at the head of an official delegation, the size of such delegation shall not exceed four including the relevant director, schedule officer and one aide of the minister,” the statement adds.
These policies no doubt are good, especially as they give room for the government to channel some of these funds into other significant areas.
African countries are beginning to wake up to the excessive recurrent expenditure accumulated by government delegates. Kenya also recently cut down overseas trips by its government officials.
Meanwhile, Nigeria has also scrapped hazard allowance earned by political office holders, all in a bid to reduce the country’s expenses, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige said this week.