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Tinubu places ban on public-funded foreign trips for ministers and others

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President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has announced a temporary ban on public-funded international trips for ministers and other government officials amid economic hardship in the country.


This was contained in a circular signed by Femi Gbajabiamila, the Chief of Staff to the President.

The circular SH/ COS/ 63/1A/ 5746 dated March 12, 2024, was addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, for onward circulation to all the MDAs

The ban on foreign trips will last for three months in the first instance and will take effect on April 1, 2024.

Tinubu noted that government officials who intend to go for any public funded international trip must seek and get presidential approval at least two weeks prior to embarking on any such trip, which must be deemed absolutely necessary.

The directives came on the heels of the public uproar generated by recent training program organised by the Accountant General of the Federation, for commissioners of finance of the 36 states and other government officials, in the United Kingdom UK.

The decision to hold the workshop on Public Financial Management and International Public Sector Accounting Standards in London, UK, had elicited condemnations from Nigerians who questioned the rationale for chosing the UK for such event, at a time the government is tackling rising cost of governance and poor revenue generation.

The circular titled : “Presidential Directive to Suspend Public Funded Foreign Trips by Government Officials”, stated that that President Bola Tinubu, “has concerns about the rising cost of travel borne by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the government as well as the growing needs for Cabinet members and heads of MDAs to focus in their respective mandates for effective service delivery.

“Considering the current economic challenges and the need for responsible fiscal management, I am writing to communicate Mr. President’s directive to place a temporary ban on all public funded international trips for all federal government officials from 1st April, 2024.

“This temporary measure is aimed at cost reduction in governance and intended as a cost saving measure without compromising governance functions

“All government officials who intend to go on any public funded international trip, must seek and obtain presidential approval at least two (2) weeks prior to embarking on any such trip, which must be deemed absolutely necessary.

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“Considering the above, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is kindly requested to circulate this directive to all Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government”, the memo reads.

Meanwhile, President Tinubu has appealed to members of the National Assembly to exercise restraint in summoning heads of ministries, departments, and agencies before parliamentary committees.

Speaking at the breaking of the Ramadan fast on Wednesday in Abuja with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, and the leadership of the House, the president said while oversight is essential for maintaining transparency and accountability in governance, excessive summoning of officials can disrupt operations and hinder service delivery to citizens.

He, therefore, urged lawmakers to show discretion in the exercise of their oversight functions.

”I have been watching various committees summoning ministers and heads of agencies. I have complained to the Speaker to let the poor breathe. Let these people do the job. We are not saying that you are not influential. We are not saying you cannot do your oversight. But consider the primary duty of each agency, its personnel, or the responsibilities of the Governor of the Central Bank or the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance to you and the entire nation.

”If they are distracted or disturbed, maybe we will shift parliamentary sitting all through the night. We must find a way to accommodate one another. This is an appeal to you. See if you can accept representatives in some instances or even documentations,” the president said.

Expressing confidence in the ability of the National Assembly to uphold good governance, President Tinubu lauded the existing cordial relationship between the executive and the legislature.

He said the harmonious working relationship had resulted in the expeditious passage of several bills to improve the welfare of Nigerians.

He urged the legislators not to forget their constituencies and to take advantage of the holy month of Ramadan to show compassion and support the less privileged in society.

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”We are making sacrifices for the country, and we are assuring citizens that there is a very bright light at the end of the tunnel.

”We must have faith, and please do not forget your constituencies and remember what they are going through.

”I cannot thank you enough for what you are doing, but it is for our country. There is nothing personal about this. It is for Nigeria, and we have no other country but Nigeria,” the president stated.

On the recent dastardly killing of soldiers on national duty in Delta State, the president while expressing his heartfelt condolences to the families of the bereaved, pledged that the sacrifices of the fallen heroes would never be in vain.

The president announced that the officers would be given a befitting burial and national honours.

”In responding to distress calls, they met the end of their lives in a savage manner. Let us work to sympathize and symbolize the fact that they are worth the sacrifices they have made for Nigeria.

”We salute all our men and women in uniform, and we sympathize with them. I will soon make further pronouncements, but they must have a befitting burial and national honours,” the president said.

In his remarks, the Speaker emphasized the importance of forgiveness, generosity, and prayers during Ramadan and called for unity in the nation and support for President Tinubu.

”I want to urge us to use this month to increase our good deeds and minimize our bad deeds,” he said.

Reflecting on the 10 months of this administration, the Speaker noted that the executive and the legislature have continued to work in synergy for the progress of the country.

”So far, so good, the House has been very supportive of the President and his policies, and we shall continue to ensure that we work together,” the Speaker said.

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