Nigeria’s President Tinubu Implements Travel Ban for Officials

Mar 21, 2024 | News, Politics | 0 comments

President Bola Tinubu of Nigeria has announced a three-month ban on ministers and government officials from publicly funded overseas travel, effective from April 1st. This decision aims to mitigate government spending on foreign trips and address concerns about escalating costs associated with official travel.

The move comes in response to President Tinubu’s apprehensions regarding the rising expenses incurred by government officials during international visits. His chief of staff emphasised the necessity of this measure amidst mounting travel expenditures borne by the government.

Criticism has been directed at President Tinubu and his administration for their frequent international trips, with particular scrutiny over the sponsorship of over 400 individuals to attend the COP28 climate conference in Dubai last November. These expenditures have sparked public outrage, especially on social media platforms.

Since assuming office in May 2023, President Tinubu has undertaken more than 15 foreign trips. Reports indicate that expenditure on both domestic and foreign travel exceeded budgeted amounts, with figures reaching 3.4 billion naira ($2.2 million; £1.8 million) in the first half of his presidency.

Given Nigeria’s pressing economic challenges and the imperative of prudent fiscal management, President Tinubu’s administration views the travel ban as a necessary step. The country is grappling with severe cost-of-living crises, exacerbating widespread hardship and public discontent.

The temporary prohibition on official travel underscores President Tinubu’s commitment to addressing public concerns. Earlier initiatives included a significant reduction in the size of official travel delegations, including his entourage, announced in January.

Under the upcoming ban, government officials will only be permitted to travel abroad if it is deemed essential, subject to President Tinubu’s approval at least two weeks in advance. The objective is to ensure officials prioritise their core responsibilities for effective service delivery.

However, while tightening regulations on official travel, President Tinubu has not indicated whether he will scale back his trips. His administration has previously defended his international engagements as crucial for addressing economic challenges and advancing national interests.