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BREAKING: President Tinubu Bans Foreign Trips For Wike, Umahi, Matawalle, Keyamo, Others

President Tinubu bans foreign trips for Nigeria’s ministers and other appointees.

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President Tinubu Defends Nigeria's Fuel Subsidy Removal In Saudi Arabia
Nigeria's President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu

President Tinubu bans foreign trips for Nigeria’s ministers and other appointees.

President Tinubu emphasized the requirement for government officials planning to undertake any publicly funded foreign trips to first obtain presidential approval at least two weeks in advance. Such trips must be considered as essential in order to proceed.

Nigeria’s President, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has ordered a temporary suspension on all public funded foreign trips for ministers, heads of agencies, and other government officials for for three months.

VerseNews reports that Tinubu gave the directive via a letter by his Chief of Staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, addressed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume.

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In the letter, dated 12 March 2024, Tinubu directed an embargo on all foreign trips. However, according to the letter, exemption could be given to “trips deemed absolutely necessary”.

According to a minister who confirmed the authenticity of the letter and preferred not to be named said that he received a copy of the letter from the presidency.

In the letter, President Tinubu expressed concerns over the rising cost of foreign trips embarked upon by government officials amid Nigeria’s dire economic situation.

According to the letter, the ban will last 90 days in the first instance and will come into effect on 1 April, 2024.

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“Mr. President has concerns about the rising cost of travel expenses borne by Ministries, Department and Agencies of Government as well as the growing need for Cabinet Members and heads of MDAs to focus on their respective mandates for effective service delivery,” the letter reads.

The letter stated further that “Considering the current economic challenges and the need for responsible fiscal management, I am writing to communicate Mr Presideni’s directive to place a temporary ban on all public funded international trips for all Federal Government officials at all levels, for an initial period of three (3) months from Is April 2024.

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

Tinubu said exemptions would need presidential approvals which must be sought two weeks ahead of the planned trip.

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

VerseNews recalls that former President Muhammadu Buhari also issued a travel ban to officials in 2019. However, that ban was to allow government officials appear before the National Assembly for budget defence.

This development demonstratesTinubu’s half-hearted commitment to cutting cost of governance.

Tinubu, since his inauguration in May, has embarked on some painful reforms like fuel subsidy removal and unification of the exchange rate regime.

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Some of the reforms have produced inflationary pressures. However, many see the current government as not cutting down its recurrent expenditure.

Many Nigerians consider Tinubu as not committed to cutting down the cost of governance. Often, the president embarks on foreign trips with large delegations.

Tinubu faced backlash during and after the last twenty-eighth Conference of Parties (COP28) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). About 590 Nigerian officials attended the conference.

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In response to public criticisms, the government said it only funded 422 persons of the 590-person delegation that included the president’s son, Seyi Tinubu, and other individuals believed to have no significant roles at the climate conference.

The 422 people funded by the federal government under Tinubu are, however, more than triple the total number of official government delegations to COP27 last year (120) and COP26 in 2021 (87).

Also, he has been criticized for travelling with his grown-up children to official state functions. The president visited Qatar on a state visit recently and went to the Gulf state country with two of his children.

Aside from the president, some of the ministers have also been junketing around the world on the pretence of seeking foreign investors and investments.

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