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President Tinubu imposes three-month ban on public funded foreign trips

Move aims to curb excessive spending and refocus officials on service delivery amid economic challenges

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In a bid to rein in excessive spending and prioritize government efficiency, President Bola Tinubu has instituted a sweeping ban on public funded foreign trips for ministers, agency heads, and government officials at all levels. The embargo, set to last for an initial three-month period starting April 1, 2024, marks a significant policy shift aimed at curbing the rising costs associated with official travel.

The directive, conveyed in a letter dated March 12, 2024, and signed by Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila, underscores President Tinubu’s concerns over escalating travel expenses and the imperative for officials to refocus on their core mandates. Notably, the move follows previous measures to streamline delegation sizes and security arrangements during both domestic and international trips, in response to public criticism and fiscal prudence.

The decision to impose the ban comes in the wake of mounting scrutiny triggered by the extensive Nigerian delegation’s attendance at the twenty-eighth Conference of Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates. Despite government assertions that funding was provided for only a fraction of the attendees, the episode spotlighted broader concerns regarding travel expenditures and accountability.

According to the directive, government officials seeking approval for public funded foreign trips must obtain presidential endorsement at least two weeks in advance, with stringent criteria defining the necessity of such journeys. The measure, framed as a temporary cost-saving initiative, reflects Tinubu’s commitment to responsible fiscal management and efficient governance amidst economic challenges.

As the ban takes effect, it signals a concerted effort to instill fiscal discipline and channel resources towards pressing national priorities, while ensuring that public expenditures remain aligned with government objectives.

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