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Ministers, Others Get Three-Month Ban On Foreign Trips

Ministers, heads of agencies, and other government officials have been banned from embarking on public funded foreign trips.

President Bola Tinubu who imposed the ban said it will affect ministers and others, for three months in the first instance with effect on April 1, 2024.

This development was signed in a letter by the Chief of Staff to the president, Femi Gbajabiamila; and addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, with the date, March 12, 2024.

In a related development, it could be recalled that Tinubu in January, issued an order to reduce the number of people accompanying him on both local and foreign trips, stressing 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.

The banned was also triggered by the counteraction he faced during and after the last twenty-eighth Conference of Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates, which about 590 Nigerian officials attended.

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

Part of the letter read: “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 Ist April 2024.”

The aim of the ban, according to the letter, is to reduce costs in governance.

“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,” it added.

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