In a bid to cut costs in the face of dwindling revenue, the Federal Government yesterday banned Ministers and permanent secretaries from traveling first class on any airline.
The ban also affected chairmen of federal government committees, as well as chairmen and chief executives of parastatals and agencies.
The directive was contained in a statement issued by the Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance and signed by Media Adviser to the Minister, Mr. Festus Akanbi.
According to the statement, all the affected officials would now be limited to the business class for their local and international travels as against what obtained in the past.
It was learnt that some government officials, who should have been on business class while traveling at government’s expense, flew first class while many others flew business class, instead of the economy ticket.
The Efficiency Unit, which is the initiative of the Finance Minister, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, set up to engender transparency and reduce government’s large expenditure in its negotiation for discounts with local and international airlines, also recommended other measures to the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation toward reducing government’s huge expenditure on travels.
The second recommendation bordered 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 are domiciled.
Furthermore, such events should for the most part be held in Nigeria but where that is not possible, the prior approval of the Secretary to the Federal Government should be secured.
“In line with the present administration’s commitment to reform public expenditure, the OSGF accepted the recommendations in full and has accordingly issued a circular recently to effect the changes.
“The buy-in and prompt reaction of the OSGF is an attestation of the common resolve by government to its change mantra and the spirit of collaboration among government institutions and officials”, the circular said.