The Federal Ministry of Finance says it has concluded plans to save the country over N4 billion through discounted airfares for government officials.
This is contained in a statement made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Abuja by Mr Festus Akanbi, the Special Adviser (Media) to the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun
According to the statement, the Efficiency Unit of the ministry has met with senior Arik officials to negotiate discount tickets for all government officials, irrespective of the ministry or parastatal.
The ministry expressed the willingness of Arik Air to provide discounts on tickets purchased by the government.
"A review of government overhead expenditure from 2012 to 2014 showed that travel was the largest single expenditure item.
" A cumulative total of N248 billion, equivalent to about 18 per cent of total overhead expenditure, was spent on travel during the periods.
"This translates to N83 billion per annum. So, at a conservative discount of 5 per cent on ticket prices, the estimated savings per annum is approximately N4 billion," it said.
The statement said that given the large amount spent on travel, it was imperative that the efficiency unit prioritises travel as a key focus area for cost cutting and generation of savings.
‘’To this end, the efficiency unit is negotiating with local and international airlines for discounts commensurate with the large number of ticket purchases made by government annually.
"The savings generated will increase funding available to the government for capital investment.
"Also, the efficiency unit has made proposals to the appropriate government authorities for the introduction of guidelines that will reduce the need for travel by localising the activities that necessitate travel, where feasible.
"Other overhead expenditure items including insurance, advertising and fuel, where the government’s bargaining power can be leveraged, are also being reviewed," it stated.