President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a directive for ministers, director-generals and other top government officials to submit travel plans for clearance. Willie Bassey, director of information to Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF), announced this in a statement on Wednesday. Bassey also said that henceforth,
“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”. Some of the directives in the statement are: Without approval from the president, ministers, permanent secretaries, chief executive officers and directors in the ministry are restricted to not more than two (2) foreign travels in a quarter. When a minister is head of a delegation, the size of such delegation should not exceed four. All public funded travels (local and foreign) must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence.
The statement said the development is to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of resources. The auditor-general of the federation has also been directed to treat all expenditures that contravene these guidelines as ineligible. “President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved for immediate implementation, additional cost saving measures aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in the area of official travels,” the statement read.
“Henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are required 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. “All foreign travels must be for highly essential statutory engagements that are beneficial to the interest of the country. Except with the express approval of Mr. President, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments, Chief Executive Officers and Directors are restricted to not more than two (2) foreign travels in a quarter.”
The president also approved for 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, to continue to fly business class while other categories of public officers are to travel on economy class. The directive was issued less than one week after Buhari barred his cabinet members from foreign trips until the budget defence at the national assembly is over. On Tuesday, Chris Ngige, minister of labour, had said the government would review the salaries and allowances of political office holders across the country.