PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday approved travel allowance cuts for ministers, director-generals and other top government officials as they submit their travel plans for clearance.
This development was announced in a Twitter post by Willie Bassey, director of information on behalf of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF.
“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 statement said.
He pointed out that the aim of the policy was to control leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of resources.
The auditor-general of the federation was directed to treat all expenditures that contravene the 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 reads.
“Henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDA, 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.
Travel clearance for all travels for all members of the executive was to be obtained from the office of the SGF for approval before embarking on such a journey.
“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.
“On the Nature and Frequency of Travels, all public-funded travels (local and foreign), must be strictly for official purposes 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. 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 statement affirmed.
He said when a minister is the head of a delegation, the size of such delegation should not exceed four, including the relevant director, schedule officer and one aide of the minister.
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 in economy class.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.