BackpageTemporary Ban on Foreign Trips, Yes But …

Temporary Ban on Foreign Trips, Yes But …


March 24, (THEWILL)- Recently, the decision by Nigeria’s Accountant-General’s Office to hold a workshop for the 36 State Commissioners of Finance in the expensive city of London, England sparked outrage in the media and reignited debates surrounding the misuse and inefficient allocation of public funds in our nation. This contentious move serves as a poignant reminder of the deep-rooted issues plaguing successive administrations, issues that have persistently undermined our country’s progress and exacerbated the hardships faced by ordinary Nigerians: Financial recklessness and fiscal irresponsibility.

While President Bola Tinubu’s recent imposition of a three-month ban on publicly funded overseas travel for all Federal Government officials and employees is a commendable step, it merely scratches the surface of a far more profound problem.


Indeed, the mindless decision of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Oluwatoyin Sakirat Madein to host the workshop in England flagrantly reeks of insensitivity and a blatant disregard for fiscal responsibility. It is a move that not only undermines the government’s purported commitment to curbing wasteful expenditure but also perpetuates the perception of an elitist and detached leadership, oblivious to the harsh realities faced by ordinary Nigerians.

At a time when Nigeria is grappling with soaring inflation, currency devaluation, and a widening budget deficit, it is utterly irresponsible to squander taxpayer’s money on extravagant overseas events. The resources allocated for such purposes ought to have been redirected towards addressing pressing domestic needs on sectors requiring financial investments at large scale as in healthcare, education, infrastructure, and poverty alleviation.

Furthermore, that irresponsible decision raises serious questions about the necessity and effectiveness of conducting a workshop abroad. Nigeria is home to numerous highly qualified professionals and experts who are more than capable of providing the required training and expertise. By outsourcing such activities to foreign countries, the government not only undermines local expertise but also fails to leverage the wealth of knowledge and experience within its own borders. It also raises concerns about transparency and accountability in government procurement processes.

Unfortunately, the misuse and inefficient allocation of public funds in Nigeria extend far beyond the realm of foreign travel and workshops. It is a pervasive issue that permeates various sectors of governance and all the different levels of government, hampering the country’s progress and exacerbating the hardships faced by its citizens.

Like a malignant tumour, financial recklessness has metastasized throughout various sectors of governance. Beyond the centre of power in Abuja, this infestation has roots in state governments and even at the local government levels, hampering our nation’s progress and exacerbating the hardships faced by its citizens. From corruption and inefficient bureaucracy to unsustainable subsidies and abandoned projects, a multitude of areas demand urgent attention and reform.

Corruption, a cancer that has plagued Nigeria for decades, remains a significant contributor to the misuse of public funds. Bribery, embezzlement and misappropriation of resources continue to divert funds away from their intended purposes, depriving citizens of essential services and infrastructure from the local government level, where government is closest to the people. The issue of ghost workers, wherein non-existent employees siphon funds away from legitimate payrolls, is another area of concern that must be addressed with urgency.

Inefficient bureaucracy and cumbersome procedures also contribute to the wastage of public resources. Delays in project implementation, inflated costs due to unnecessary paperwork and cutbacks and duplication of efforts by multiple government agencies to line private pockets, all lead to significant financial losses and inefficiencies.

Unsustainable subsidies, inflated contracts awarded through non-competitive bidding processes and abandoned projects are additional areas where allegations of misuse of public funds frequently arise. Furthermore, the high cost of governance itself, including excessive salaries and administrative expenses, has been a subject of debate and scrutiny.

It is time for governments at all levels to address these deep-rooted issues and restore public confidence in our democracy and management of public funds. Beyond symbolic gestures like the temporary ban on foreign travel, comprehensive reforms are needed to tackle corruption, streamline bureaucratic processes, and promote transparency and accountability across all levels.

Nigeria must prioritise the implementation of robust anti-corruption measures, including strengthening independent oversight bodies and ensuring the effective prosecution of those found guilty of misappropriating public funds. Additionally, efforts should be made to simplify bureaucratic procedures, reduce duplication of efforts and promote inter-agency collaboration to enhance efficiency and minimise waste.

It is encouraging to note that the Bola Tinubu Administration has taken a crucial step in this direction by committing to implement the recommendations of the Orosanye Report on restructuring the civil service and reducing waste. This long-overdue initiative aims to streamline government operations, eliminate redundancies, and enhance efficiency in public spending. The Federal Government deserves commendation for this bold move, which, if executed effectively, could yield significant savings and redirect resources towards more productive endeavours that benefit the Nigerian people. State governments can also streamline their departments and agencies to improve efficiency.

Nigeria needs a decisive and comprehensive action to address this perennial issue, restore public confidence and ensure that public resources are utilised for the betterment of all Nigerians, rather than indulging in graft, extravagance and perpetuating a culture of elitism.

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