President Muhammadu Buhari has barred ministers and heads of agencies from foreign trips until they defend their budget before the National Assembly.
Mr Buhari on Tuesday presented next year appropriation bill to the joint session of the legislative arm of government. This he said was to enable the return to January-December budget circle.
After the presentation, Ahmad Lawan, President of the Senate, urged ministers and heads of agencies to ensure they defend their budgets at the committee level of the red chamber before the end of the month to enable early passage of the bill.
The directive barring the government officials from foreign trips is contained in a statement signed by Willie Bassey, the director of information in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
“Sequel to the presentation of the 2020 Appropriation Bill by Mr President to the National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the immediate suspension of international travels by all Cabinet Members and Heads of Government Agencies so as to enable Honourable Ministers personally lead the process of Budget defence at the National Assembly,” the statement said.
“The suspension of such travels will enable functionaries and agencies of the Executive Arm to provide the required cooperation with the Legislature in order to ensure timely passage of the Appropriation Bill.
“Honourable Ministers who have already secured approval to travel are by this directive, required to revalidate such approvals with Mr President after confirming the Schedule of Appearances with the relevant committees of the National Assembly.
“Furthermore, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have been directed to liaise with the relevant committees of the National Assembly for their Schedules of Budget defence,” it added.