Anietie Udobit, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has placed travel restrictions on ministers, presidential aides, heads of agencies and other top officials of the government.
Announcing the restrictions at a press conference, Information and culture minister Lai Mohammed said all travelling by the government officials must be beneficial to the interest of the country, according to the president.
Mohammed said the travel restriction was part of Buhari’s cost-saving measures, particularly in the area of official travels under the new Yearly Travel Plans policy.
“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,” Mohammed said.
“Also, when a Minister is at the head of an official delegation, the size of such delegation shall not exceed four (4) including the relevant Director, Schedule Officer and one (1) Aide of the Minister.”
Mohammed said the president directed that every other delegation below ministerial level shall be restricted to a maximum of three persons.
He explained that Buhari 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 are to fly business class, while other categories of public officers are to travel on economy class when travelling.
Also, Mohammed said 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.
He noted that all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) 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 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.
The minister said the government officials are required to make their presentation using the existing template and also secure approvals on specific travels as contained in the plan.
“On the Nature and Frequency of travels, all public-funded travels (local and foreign), must be strictly for official purposes backed with documentary evidence,” Mohammed said.