By Gift Samuel
Travels remains a priority on the list of government expenditure items with the Nigerian government spending a whooping sum of over N350 billion on travels alone between 2012 and 2015.
In line with this, the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun on Thursday at a workshop on flight discounts with Dana Airlines by the Efficiency Unit of the Ministry for MDAs, said that Nigeria is expected to save N5 billion per annum from discounts on travel alone when the legal documentation of the discounts offered by Dana airlines are concluded.
Dana Airlines signed an agreement in February with the efficiency unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance to provide 50 per cent discount on prevailing airfares to MDAs for the purposes of official transportation of personnel, consultants and contractors for which the MDAs are paying.
The Minister who was represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Lara Shuaibu noted that the workshop which aims to moderate the Federal Government’s expenditure on travels will provide an opportunity for officers in MDAs to be aware of these initiatives and to be equipped with details on how to access the 50 per cent travel discount offered by Dana Airlines on it’s local and regional routes.
According to her; “Through the activities of the E-unit, the Federal Ministry of Finance with the cooperation of all MDAs will achieve value for money in government spending and savings from the procurement process. These financial reforms are in our collective interest. I hereby implore all MDAs to support the initiative and avail themselves of savings opportunities such as travel discounts”.
In her presentation, the Head, Efficiency Unit, Mrs. Patience Oniha, said the huge expenditure on travels has made the government an important customer to airlines, adding that the efficiency unit capitalized on the strategy to negotiate for discount of five to 50 per cent from 17 local and international airlines.
She also announced that the E-unit agreement with Dana Airlines in February 2017,covers only official trips, adding that the ticket which is meant for members of staff of MDAs are not transferable.
Oniha while stating that the intention is to save cost, urged MDAs to comply with the terms and conditions of the discount agreement as well as take full advantage of it.
Also, the Assistant Manager, Commercial Planning, Dana Airlines Mr. Kola Ogunbiyi said the obligation is to give 50 per cent discount on available selling fares, priority on seat availability, adding that reservation is to be handled by a dedicated desk in-house.
He also emphasized that MDAs are to make payment after every two weeks(15) days in order to continue to enjoy the credit facility.
Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) engage in both local and international trips on various reasons such as trainings, workshops, meetings, site visits and inspections through several classes of travels ranging from economy to business and first class.