FG Could Save Over N5bn Quarterly from Foreign Trips

Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila
Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila google

According to an analysis of government budget data, the new policy banning officials of Ministries, Departments, and Agencies from going on public-funded foreign trips for three months could save the Federal Government an estimated amount of over N5bn every quarter.

The data was gathered from the breakdown of funds designated for international travels in the 2024 budget by 103 MDAs.

President Bola Tinubu had expressed concerns regarding the increasing expenses of international travels covered by directors, permanent secretaries, and employees of the federal civil service.

A ban on government officials from embarking on public-funded trips overseas was issued in a letter dated March 12, 2024, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, and addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume.

The ban, with the purpose of reducing costs in governance, will be implemented on April 1, 2024.

The statement stated that this temporary measure aims at cost reduction in governance and is intended as a cost-saving measure without compromising government functions.

However, Tinubu emphasized that government officials who are required to go on any publicly-funded foreign trip must obtain presidential approval at least two weeks prior to the trip, which should be considered 'absolutely necessary'.

Days after Nigerians, civil society organizations, and rights groups criticized the Accountant General of the Federation, commissioners of finance of the 36 states of the federation, and other government officials for opting to conduct a workshop in the United Kingdom during a significant economic downturn.

In the breakdown, the latest policy by the Tinubu administration is anticipated to impact 43 permanent secretaries. Currently, according to findings, there are 43 PS under the Federal Civil Service.

An analysis of MDAs known for travelling indicates that the State House (Presidency) is set to save around N1.74bn in three months, while the Vice President’s office is expected to save N307.3m.

Several government ministries and agencies could save significant amounts if a presidential directive on international travel is implemented. For instance, the Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment may save N176.79 million, while the National Defense College stands to save N984.6 million.

Other potential savings include N434.56 million for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, N860.8 million for the Nigerian Intelligence Agency, and N47.5 million for the Office of the Secretary-General of the Federation.

Additionally, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Youth Development could save N212.32 million and N70.8 million, respectively, if the directive is followed.

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