Foreign Trips Ban Will Save FG N5 Billion Quarterly, Says Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu announced on Friday that the ban on foreign trips for government appointees will result in saving the country over N5 billion. He emphasized the importance of Nigerians patronizing made-in-Nigeria products and services to sustain the recent gains of the Naira in the foreign exchange market.

Tinubu cautioned that despite the recent appreciation of the Naira against the dollar, there is still work to be done. He called for increased collaboration from citizens and encouraged them to report any activities undermining the local currency.

The President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, conveyed these messages to journalists during a State House briefing. Ngelale explained that the federal government expects to save N5 billion quarterly by imposing a strict three-month ban on all publicly-funded foreign trips for ministers, heads of government agencies, and other officials.

In a letter dated March 2, 2024, from the Office of the President’s Chief of Staff, Tinubu announced a three-month ban on all official foreign trips for heads of ministries, departments, and agencies beginning April 1, 2024. The letter clarified that the aim is to reduce rising expenses incurred by ministries, departments, and agencies on international travel and ensure that cabinet members and heads of MDAs focus on their respective mandates for effective service delivery.

The Presidential Spokesman said, “With the temporary ban being put in place from April 1 on all but unnecessary foreign travel, we’re expecting to save over N5bn per quarter.”

“This is going to be one out of several initiatives the President is taking to ensure that we reduce waste in the public sector in such a way that we can steer these very needed recurrent resources into the hands of those who are doing important work on behalf of the Nigerian people.”

He cited recent reviews of the pay structure of judicial officers to ensure internationally competitive remuneration.

Recall that upon assuming office 10 months ago, the Tinubu administration discontinued subsidies on petrol, which, he said, would save the government monies for infrastructural expansion.

He also unified the foreign exchange rates to curb currency arbitrage.

However, these moves sparked collateral instability in the value of the Naira and heaped hardship on Nigerians as food prices soared.

In February 2024, N1,900 was exchanged for one USD in the black market.

The Naira has recently steadily climbed against the US dollar, exchanging N1,382/$ at the official market on Thursday.

Ngelale argued that a stronger naira is necessary for working citizens as it would complement the new minimum wage upon implementation.

He explained, “I’m confident that Nigerians have witnessed the strengthening of the Nigerian Naira against the United States Dollar. This is the direction all of us have wanted to head and we are very sober to the fact that this is no time to rest or to clap.

“This is why His Excellency President Bola Tinubu has approved a series of interventions to ensure that we see a mass strengthening of the Nigerian Naira against all other global currencies.

“One, President Bola Tinubu, wants to communicate very clearly to our people that there has never been a more important time in our history to actively agree together that we will patronise and purchase made-in-Nigeria products across all value chains, across all sectors.”