Tinubu Enforces Three-Month Ban on Publicly Funded Foreign Travel for Government Officials

President Bola Tinubu has implemented a prohibition on publicly funded international travels for ministers, agency directors, and other governmental officials.

Tinubu Enforces Three-Month Ban on Publicly Funded Foreign Travel for Government Officials
President Bola Tinubu

This prohibition is set to last initially for a three-month period, commencing on April 1, 2024.

A directive issued on March 12, 2024, communicated through a letter from the President’s Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, outlined these new measures.

Previously in January, President Tinubu had already scaled back the entourage accompanying him on domestic and overseas visits. He specified that no more than 25 individuals should join him for local trips and 20 for travels abroad. Furthermore, he instructed that local security forces at his destinations should be responsible for his protection, reducing the need to bring along numerous security staff from Abuja.

These changes follow criticism Tinubu faced for the extensive delegation that joined him at the twenty-eighth Conference of Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates, which saw participation from approximately 590 Nigerian officials.

In defense, the administration clarified that it only sponsored 422 of those delegates.

The letter announcing the travel restriction states: “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 President’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 1st April 2024.”

The intention behind this ban, as per the communication, is to decrease governmental expenditure.

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

Additionally, President Tinubu has stipulated that any government official planning a publicly funded trip abroad must first obtain presidential consent at least two weeks in advance, ensuring the trip is considered absolutely necessary.

The letter emphasizes, “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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