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Nigeria downgrades high-flying civil servants

By AFP

Added 7th April 2016 07:11 AM

Under a package of reforms, government air travel costs are to be slashed to save up to 13.88 billion naira ($69.7 million)

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Under a package of reforms, government air travel costs are to be slashed to save up to 13.88 billion naira ($69.7 million)

LAGOS - High-flying Nigerian civil servants who travel business or first class cost the country so much they are to be downgraded and the savings funnelled into capital projects, an official said Wednesday.

"In the past, some government officials who should have been in business class usually travelled first class, while many others travelled business class instead of economy," finance ministry spokesman Festus Akanbi said.

"Such large savings from travel, which should ordinarily not be a major expense item for the government, will become available for investment in capital projects," he added.

Under a package of reforms, government air travel costs are to be slashed to save up to 13.88 billion naira ($69.7 million), Akbani said in a statement.

Government officials will also be encouraged to hold conferences and meetings in their own regions to cut down on flights and be required to seek permission from the federal government to host events overseas, Akanbi said.

Nigeria is facing an economic crisis following a crash in the price of oil, a commodity worth two-thirds of its government revenue.

President Muhammadu Buhari has pledged to stamp out endemic graft and curb wasteful spending in Africa's largest economy to help plug holes in the budget and develop infrastructure in the oil-rich but import dependent nation.

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