Nigeria’s President Tinubu places three-month ban on publicly funded foreign trips for officials

President Bola Tinubu

In response to concerns over escalating travel expenses, President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has announced a three-month ban on ministers and government officials from undertaking publicly funded foreign trips, effective April 1st.

The decision, revealed by Mr. Tinubu’s chief of staff, aims to address the rising costs associated with official travel and promote responsible fiscal management in light of Nigeria’s economic challenges.

Criticism has mounted against the administration, particularly after sponsoring over 400 delegates to the COP28 climate conference in Dubai last November. Since assuming office in May 2023, President Tinubu has embarked on more than 15 foreign trips, prompting scrutiny over expenditures.

According to reports, the president’s travel expenses exceeded the budgeted amount for 2023 by 36%, totaling at least 3.4 billion naira ($2.2 million). This move seeks to mitigate costs amid Nigeria’s worsening cost-of-living crisis.

Under the ban, government officials will only be allowed to travel abroad if deemed absolutely necessary, subject to President Tinubu’s approval at least two weeks prior. The reduction in travel aims to ensure officials focus on their mandates for effective service delivery.

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While addressing the backlash, the president’s representatives have not indicated whether Mr. Tinubu will reduce his own foreign trips, previously defended as essential for addressing economic challenges.