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Tinubu suspends public-funded foreign trips by ministers, govt officials

Tinubu suspends public-funded foreign trips by ministers, govt officials
Bola Tinubu meets his supporters at the party's campaign headquarters after winning   -  
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Ben Curtis/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


Nigeria’s president Bola Tinubu will from April 1st place a three-month ban on ministers and other government officials from publicly funded overseas travel. This is aimed at curbing government spending on foreign trips.

This decision comes as a response to President Tinubu's concerns regarding the escalating costs associated with such trips by public officials. His chief of staff highlighted the necessity of this move against the backdrop of mounting travel expenses incurred by the government.

Criticism has been directed at President Tinubu and his administration for their frequent international visits. Particularly contentious was the sponsorship of over 400 individuals to attend the COP28 climate conference in Dubai last November, drawing ire, particularly on social media platforms.

Since assuming office in May 2023, President Tinubu has embarked on more than 15 foreign trips. Reports indicate that his expenditure on both domestic and foreign travel surpassed budgeted amounts, with figures reaching 3.4 billion naira ($2.2 million; £1.8 million) in the first half of his presidency.

Faced with Nigeria's pressing economic challenges and the imperative of prudent fiscal management, President Tinubu's administration sees the travel ban as a necessary step. The country is grappling with severe cost-of-living crises, exacerbating widespread hardship and public discontent.

This temporary prohibition on official travel underscores President Tinubu's commitment to addressing public concerns. Earlier initiatives included a significant reduction in the size of official travel delegations, including his entourage, announced in January.

Under the upcoming ban, government officials will only be permitted to travel abroad if it is deemed essential, subject to President Tinubu's approval at least two weeks in advance. The objective is to ensure officials prioritize their core responsibilities for effective service delivery.

However, while tightening regulations on official travel, President Tinubu has not indicated whether he will scale back his trips. His administration has previously defended his international engagements as crucial for addressing economic challenges and advancing national interests.

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