President Bola Tinubu has implemented a temporary ban on all public-funded foreign trips for Federal Government officials, including ministers and heads of agencies.

The ban, which takes effect from April 1, 2024, will last for an initial period of three months.

The directive was conveyed through a letter from the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, for onward circulation to all the Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

The letter, titled ‘Presidential Directive to Suspend Public Funded Foreign Trips by Government Officials’, emphasized the need for responsible fiscal management amid rising travel expenses incurred by government entities.

According to the memo, government officials planning public-funded international trips must now obtain presidential approval at least two weeks in advance, with a strict requirement that such trips be deemed absolutely necessary.

The decision is in line with the recent approval by the Federal Executive Council of the Steve Oronsaye Report, advocating for the merger of government agencies to reduce governance costs.

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The President had earlier in January slashed travel delegations for all Federal Government official trips within and outside the country.

The latest decision comes in response to public outcry over perceived extravagance, notably highlighted by criticisms of the delegation size at the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai last December, and also to ensure that heads of MDAs focus on thier assigned mandate without compromising the cost of governance.

According to the memo, the President’s suspension of government officials from foreign trips was part of his administration’s cost reduction, with an intention to make all heads of MDAs “focus on effective service delivery, especially with regards to the mandates assigned to them”.

“Mr President 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,” the memo said.

“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,” it said.