By Okon Okon
In a bid to curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of resources of government, President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved additional cost saving measures for immediate implementation.
Mr Willie Bassey, Director Information, office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, in a statement on Wednesday , said the decision was aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in the area of official travels.
“Henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are required to submit their Yearly Travel Plans for statutory meetings and engagements to the office of the SGF.
“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,” he said
According to Bassey, MDAs 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.
He stated further that on the nature and frequency of travels, all public funded travels ( both 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.
“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.
“Every other delegation below ministerial level shall be restricted to a maximum of three (3),” he said.`
Bassey said the president had approved Class of Air Travels for Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants to the President, Chairmen of Extra-Ministerial Departments.
He added that Chief Executive Officers of Parastatals are entitled to continue to fly Business Class, while other categories of Public Officers are to travel on Economy Class.
“Also, travel days will no longer attract payment of `Estacode Allowances` as 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 said.
He said the Auditor-General of the Federation has been directed to treat all expenditures that contravene these guidelines as ineligible.