In a major cost-cutting measure, President Bola Tinubu has approved a directive to slash the size of official delegations for foreign and domestic trips by up to 60%.
Presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, disclosed this to State House correspondents on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to him, the new limits will affect travels by the President, Vice President, First Lady and other top government officials.
For foreign trips, he said Tinubu’s delegation will now be capped at 20 people, down from the previous 50-man delegation.
He said the First Lady’s entourage abroad is restricted to just five members, which is an over 60% reduction.
Ngelale said the Vice President’s foreign delegation will be limited to five as well, while his wife is also restricted to five members.
For domestic trips within Nigeria, he said President Tinubu’s delegation is now capped at 25, the First Lady at 10, the Vice President at 15 and his wife at 10 members.
He also said every minister is limited to having just four members of staff on any foreign trip while CEOs of government agencies are limited to just two.
Ngelale said the aim was to cut down on wasteful spending and reflect the prudence expected of all Nigerians.
He said the restrictions apply to all government MDAs, including the President and Vice President’s offices.
Ngelale emphasised the President’s insistence that government officials reflect the same fiscal prudence and efficiency as regular citizens.
The presidential spokesman said the secretary to the government of the federation, George Akume, will monitor the implementation of the directive for compliance.
He warned that anyone violating the directive would face consequences
He said, “President Tinubu has, by his most recent directive approved a massive cost-cutting exercise that will touch across the entire federal government of Nigeria and the offices of the President himself, the Vice President and the office of the First Lady. It will be conducted in the following fashion.
“One, the official trips that will be undertaken within the country that is when Mr. President or the Vice President travels to any state within the country, the massive bills that accrued due to allowances and estacode for security details coming from Abuja going and traveling into those states, will be massively cut due to the directive of the President, that the security outfits within states, whether it be Police, DSS, or branches of the military, will frontline his protective detail when he travels to those states, a major cost-cutting initiative that will affect the Office of the Vice President as well as the office of the First Lady.
“Additionally, when any international travel is being approved, the following limits have been placed on all ministers of the Federation. Four members of their staff, appointees and the likes will be allowed to travel with a minister on official trip.
“For heads of agency that will be limited to two members of staff allowed to travel on an official trip.
“Furthermore, the numbers that the President has now approved for official travel with him that will apply to his principal staff are as follows: on international trips the President has directed that no more than 20 individuals be allowed to travel with him.
“That number will be cut down to five in the case of the First Lady. Additionally, the number in the entourage on official international trips for the Vice President will be cut to five, the number that will be placed as a limit on the wife of the Vice President is also five.
“In terms of local trips, the President has approved a new limit of 25 members of staff to accompany him on domestic trips within the country.
“The Office of the First Lady is now limited to 10 staff members to accompany her on official trips within the country.
“The Vice President will be limited to 15 members of staff on official trips within the country, while his wife will be limited to 10 members of staff on officials within the country, the same as the First Lady.
“It is pertinent to note that there is a difference between the number of members of staff allowed to travel with the presiding officials to international trips and those that are allowed for domestic.
“You will find that the numbers on international trips are less than those allowed on domestic trips. This is because international trips are far more expensive across the board and the President is determined to bring total sanity and prudence to the management of the commonwealth of our people.
“As a result of this, the President has directed that every federal MDA also including the office of the president itself and the Office of the Vice President as well as the offices of the First and Second Ladies, are affected and bound by this directive of the president.
“Henceforth, the President is insistent that the notion of government wastage, the notion of recurrent expenditure being in excess, the notion that government officials will be allowed to conduct their affairs in a way that is different from what we are asking of Nigerian citizens with respect to prudence and cost management, those days are over.
“The President is insistent that the prudence of government officials must reflect the prudence and efficiency of the Nigerian citizens and this is the directive of the President.
“With respect to the adherence to this most recent directive of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I believe we do not need to convince the officers of the federal government of Nigeria of the seriousness of the President with respect to how he will implement his directives.
“If there is anybody who feels that the directive of the President is not binding on them, who feels that the President will not uphold this directive in implementation and seeks to test it, they will do so at their own peril,” he added.