By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Nigerian government, in a bid to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of its resources, has directed that henceforth, all Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Chief Executive Officers and Directors are restricted to not more than two foreign travels in a quarter for highly essential statutory engagements that are beneficial to interest of the nation.
This directive was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari as part of additional cost saving measures aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in the area of official travels.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, it was emphasised that the affected officials can only embark on more than two foreign trips in three months “except with the express approval of Mr President.”
In addition, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been asked to submit their Yearly Travel Plans for statutory meetings and engagements to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and/or the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation for express clearance within the first quarter of the fiscal year, before implementation.
They are further required to make their presentation using the existing template and also secure approvals on specific travels as contained in the plan, from the appropriate quarters.
The statement obtained by Business Post said “all public funded travels (local and foreign), must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence.”
Also, when a Minister is at the head of an official delegation, the size of such delegation shall not exceed 4 including the relevant Director, Schedule Officer and 1 Aide of the Minister.
Every other delegation below ministerial level shall be restricted to a maximum of three and for the class of air travels, the President has approved that Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants to the President, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments and Chief Executive Officers of Parastatals who are entitled, continue to fly Business Class while other categories of public officers are to travel on Economy Class.
“Also, travel days will no longer attract payment of Estacode Allowances as 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,” the statement said.