By Joseph INOKOTONG
The federal government has projected to save about N10 billion per annum from its broad initiatives to control Travel Expenditure via Circulars and Discounts from local and international airlines.
This was disclosed yesterday in Abuja by Ms. Patience Oniha, Head, Efficiency Unit of the federal ministry of finance during her presentation to Protocol Officers and other Administrative Staff of MDAs at a Workshop on Travel Discounts.
The Head of Efficiency Unit explained that the “Circulars are policy guidelines or rules issued by the appropriate public officer in this instance the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HoS)”, with the objectives “to Introduce Standards; promote uniformity in the practice across MDAs; serve as regulation for audit and other purposes. The estimated savings from these Circulars is about N10 billion per annum.”
She pointed out that government’s expenditure on Travels is huge which makes it an important customer to airlines, noting that “by practice, an important customer, defined in this instance as one with a large buying power is entitled to discounts from vendors. The E-Unit used this strategy to negotiate for discounts from 19 local and international airlines.”
Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun who was represented at the event said the arrangement with Dana Airlines Limited is the first among several on-going activities of the E-Unit to use the Federal Government’s large buying power to secure commensurate discounts from providers of goods and services.
The minister added that the workshop will provide an opportunity for officers in MDAs to be aware of these initiatives and in particular, to be equipped with details of how to access the 50% Travel Discount offered by Dana Airlines Limited to the MDAs on its local and regional routes.
Justifying the need for discount, Ms. Oniha said government’s resources need to be deployed to more productive investments such as infrastructure.
In this regards, she stressed that the “Efficiency Unit seeks to enable the government deploy more resources to capital through Value for Money and savings from the procurement process.
“The Initiatives on Travels are only some of the changes which the Efficiency Unit is introducing to help the government cut costs and generate savings and overall, improve its spending pattern.
“Our responsibilities as public servants are to support the government’s initiatives by: complying with Circulars, Regulations and Policies such as the Circulars on Travels issued by the SGF and HoS; drawing the attention of persons in our respective offices to the provisions of the Circulars; take advantage of the discounts to save costs; comply with the terms and conditions of the airlines, and avoid abuses that could lead to loss of the offer or soil the reputation of MDAs.”
Dana Airline in its presentation said “the object of the agreement is to provide 50% discount on prevailing airfares to MDAs for the purpose of official transportation of personnel, consultants and contractors for which the MDAs are paying.”
It stressed that the 50% discount is applicable on available selling fares with priority on seat availability and reservations to be handled by a dedicated desk in-house.
By Joseph INOKOTONG