FG bars ministers, others from frequent foreign trips

•Limits travels to twice in 3 months •Trips to be approved by SGF, HoS

THE Federal Government has restricted ministers, permanent secretaries, chairmen of extra-ministerial departments, chief executive officers and directors from embarking on foreign travels more than twice in four months.

The government has also directed all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to submit their yearly travel plan 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 clearance within the first quarter of the fiscal year before implementation.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who announced this in a statement in Abuja, on Wednesday, said this was to block leakages and ensure fiscal prudence in the system.

The statement was signed by the Director, Information Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Willie Bassey.

Mustapha noted that to ensure efficiency in the management of resources of government, “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 SGF urged the MDAs to make presentation of their travel plans using the existing template and also secure approvals on specific travels as contained in the plan from the appropriate quarters.

On the nature and frequency of travels, Mustapha directed that all public-funded travels (local and foreign) must be strictly for official purposes and to be backed with documentary evidence.

“In this regard, all foreign travels must be for highly essential statutory engagements that are beneficial to the interest of the country.

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“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 foreign travels in a quarter.

“Also, when a minister is at the head of an official delegation, the size of such delegation shall not exceed four, including the relevant director, schedule officer and one aide of the minister. Every other delegation below ministerial level shall be restricted to a maximum of three.

“For class of air travels, the president has approved that 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.

“Also, travel days will no longer attract payment of estacode allowances as the 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.

“The Auditor-General of the Federation has been directed to treat all expenditures that contravene these guidelines as ineligible,” he said.

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