Buhari Places Limit on Ministers’ Quarterly Foreign Travels, Size of Govt Delegation

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Muhammadu Buhari
Muhammadu Buhari

By Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari has restricted the number of international trips by ministers and permanent secretaries to not more than two in a quarter.

Also affected by the new directive are the chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments, chief executive officers of government agencies and directors.

A statement issued by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) on Wednesday, said the new rule must be complied with except with express approval of the president.

The statement, which was signed by the Director of Information OSGF, Willie Bassey, also said when a minister is at the head of an official delegation, the size of such delegation must not exceed four persons, to include the relevant director, schedule officer and one ministerial aide.

Every other delegation below ministerial level must be restricted to a maximum of three.

The statement said President Buhari approved the new measures for immediate implementation as a policy designed to curb leakages and instil financial prudence in the management of government resources.

Similarly, government also warned that all public funded travels (local and foreign) must be strictly for official purposes and highly essential statutory engagements that are of benefit to the interest of the country.

Such trips must also be backed with documentary evidence.

In compliance with the new directive, government said that international travel days will no longer attract payment of estacode allowances as duration of official trips must now be limited to only the number of days of the event as contained in the supporting documents to qualify for public funding.

“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,” the statement said.

To give weight to the new policy, the Auditor-General of the Federation has been directed to treat all expenditures that contravene these guidelines as ineligible.

The statement added that henceforth, all MDAs, are now required to submit their yearly travel plans for statutory meetings and engagements to the OSGF and the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation for express clearance within the first quarter of the fiscal year, before implementation.

The affected officials are also 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.