To cut the high cost of travelling by public officials, the Federal Government on Wednesday barred its top personnel from making officials trips on first class air tickets.
Henceforth, travels with Business Class tickets would be restricted to only ministers, permanent secretaries, chairmen of Federal Government committees as well as chairmen and chief executives of parastatals and agencies.
This was part of the recommendations by the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance to cut travel expenditure by about 20 per cent.
The recommendations were as a result of the review of the provisions of some extant government circulars on overhead expenses on official travels.
The review was carried out in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation [OSGF] and the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation [OHCSF].
Among other measures to reduce government’s huge expenditure on travels, government said it had negotiated for discounts with local and international airlines for its officials.
Already, about 11 airlines were said to have offered discounts ranging from seven per cent to 50 per cent on local and international routes for travel by ministries, departments and agencies, MDAs, while negotiations are ongoing with others.
The unit said the new arrangement would reduce air travels expenditure by public officials by about N13.88 billion this year, using the N69.417 billion figure incurred on travels in 2014.
The savings, government explained, would be used for investments in capital projects, such as roads, power, railways and public health facilities.
The committee also recommended the reduction in the frequency of travels for board and committee meetings, workshops and conferences in Nigeria.
Such meetings should henceforth be held in locations where the institutions or persons participating in the event are domiciled. All events to be held outside Nigeria must receive prior approval from the Secretary to the Federal Government.
Other overhead expenditures reviewed by the unit included those on refreshments and meals, honorarium and sitting allowances as well as advertising and publicity.
These measures, the unit explained, will standardize spending on these items, cut costs and promote transparency.
The Efficiency Unit was set up the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun to engender transparency in government expenditure, while reducing the large expenditure through procurement in the various government MDAs.