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Buhari asks ministers, top officials to submit travel plans for clearance, slashes estacode on trips

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday slashed estacode for ministers and top government officials, while he also issued a directive for them to submit travel plans for clearance.

The director of information to Boss Mustapha, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Willie Bassey, announced this in a statement on Wednesday.

He said the development was in a bid to curb leakages and to make sure there was efficiency in the management of resources.

He said, “President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved for immediate implementation, additional cost saving measures aimed at instilling financial discipline and prudence, particularly, in the area of official travels,” the statement read.

“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 Secretary to the Government of the Federation 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.

“They 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.

“On the Nature and Frequency of Travels, all public funded travels (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.”

According to him, when a minister is head of a delegation, the size of such delegation should not exceed four, including the relevant director, schedule officer and one aide of the minister.

Buhari also approved for ministers, permanent secretaries, special advisers, senior special assistants to the president, chairmen of extra-ministerial departments and chief executive officers of parastatals who are entitled, to continue to fly business class while other categories of public officers are to travel on economy class.

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The statement added, “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.”

On ‘estacode’ for government officials, which is allowance made for them for travels, he directed ‘the auditor-general of the federation to treat all expenditures that contravene these guidelines as ineligible.”

The development came after the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige had earlier hinted that government would review the salaries and allowances of political office holders across the country.

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