FG bans T-shirts, souvenirs at conferences

As cash crunch bites harder, the Federal Government has announced the ban on printing and distribution of souvenirs and limit the number of pages to be printed in invitations, programmes and brochures at events.

The Ministry of Finance, in a statement issued on Sunday, said this measure was in continuation of ongoing cost-cutting and efficiency drive in the utilisation of public funds by the present administration.

“The Federal Government has banned the procurement and distribution of conference bags, T-shirts and other souvenirs at events and activities such as conferences, workshops and seminars organised and funded by Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“The new measures were approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, following recommendations by the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance, and conveyed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Ministers of Finance and Budget and National Planning, by the Chief of Staff to the President, Alhaji Abba Kyari, for implementation.”

It noted that the directive was a recognition of the fact that in a period of lean financial resources in the face of huge national infrastructural deficit, wasteful and unnecessary expenditure on overheads, such as  souvenirs and conference bags, were luxuries that the government must eliminate to release funds for infrastructure and services such as health and education that would have direct positive impact on the well-being of the citizenry and promote economic development.

The directive also contained specific guidelines that would reduce the cost of printing invitation cards, programme of events, brochures, folders and note pads.

Among the guidelines are that they should be in black and white and limited to only one page and in the case of brochures they should be streamlined to contain only essential information.

Similarly, the directive has banned the printing of unnecessary publications and books of short shelf life which have no real value to the concerned public institutions or the citizens.

While noting the need for the citizenry and other interested parties to be aware of the initiatives, activities and programmes being implemented by the government, the MDAs were directed to save costs by uploading such publications on their websites which had the added benefit of wider visibility, and print only limited number of hard copies of such publications.

It will be recalled that the Efficiency Unit was established by the present administration to promote fiscal prudence on overhead expenditure, thereby releasing resources for the development of vital national infrastructure.