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


President Bola Tinubu has banned ministers, heads of agencies, and other government officials from embarking on public-funded foreign trips for three months in the first instance.

The ban which is expected to reduce cost of governance takes effect from April 1, 2024.

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

BAR & BENCH WATCH reports that Tinubu, had in January, this year, issued an order to reduce the number of people accompanying him on both local and foreign trips.

He had specifically directed that his delegation members should not exceed 25 for local travels and 20 for international trip

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 then had said it provided funding for only 422 out of the 590 individuals in the delegation.

The March 12 letter indicating the ban reads 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.”

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 intended 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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