The Federal Government on Wednesday banned ministers and other government top officials from flying first class while embarking on officials trips. The Media Adviser to the Finance Minister, Mr. Festus Akanbi, who confirmed the development in Abuja on Wednesday said this was part of the effort by the present administration to cut costs.
The statement stated that henceforth, all top officials of government such as ministers, permanent secretaries, chairmen of federal government committees, as well as chairmen and chief executives of parastatals and agencies are to travel on business class.
In the past, government officials who should have been on business class usually travelled on first class, while many others travelled business class instead of economy class.
According to Akanbi, the new directive has been captured in a circular on review of overhead expenses released by the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and one of the recommendations made by the Efficiency Unit which was set up by the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, last year which was aimed at reducing overheard expenses.
The second recommendation is on the need to reduce the frequency of travels by ensuring that board and committee events such as meetings, workshops and conferences in Nigeria are held in locations where the institutions or persons participating in the event are domiciled. He asid:
“Such events should, for the most part, be held in Nigeria but where this is not possible, the prior approval of the Secretary to the federal government should be secured.”
The Efficiency unit was set up to ensure transparency and reduce government’s large expenditure through procurement in the various ministries, departments and agencies of the federal government.
He added that in its negotiation for discounts with local and international airlines, the E-UNIT also recommended other measures for reducing the government’s large expenditure on travels to the OSGF, who in line with the present administration’s commitment to reform public expenditure, accepted the recommendations in full and has accordingly issued a circular recently to effect the changes.
It is estimated that travel expenditure will drop by about 20% if the provisions of the new circular issued by the OSGF are fully implemented. A 20% reduction in air travel expenditure, using the figure of N69.417 billion incurred on travels in 2014 will result in a cost-cutting of over N13 billion.