Nigeria seeks airline discounts to curtail govt travel budget


Nigeria, reeling from the slump in oil prices, has asked domestic and international airlines for discounts as it seeks to cap travel expenses that are its biggest source of overhead costs, the Finance Ministry said in a statement that was issued last week.
A “conservative” 5 percent reduction on airfare tickets would save the West African government about 4 billion naira (around $20 million) every year, the Abuja-based ministry said in an e-mailed statement. Therefore, the savings could go toward capital investment, it said.
The ministry’s “Efficiency Unit has engaged in negotiation discussions with local and international airlines for discounts commensurate with the large number of ticket purchases made by government annually,” it said.
The talks are “yielding positive results.”
The Unit is trying to convince various carriers to offer liberal discounts to them at this moment in lieu of ticket bookings in bulk and also against the assurance of future dealings with teh same airlines.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and its most populated with 180 million people, has been hit hard by the oil-price plunge, which has eroded a vital revenue stream and dragged on economic growth on the downward streak.
However, the government is making rigorous efforts to float the economy out of the troubled waters. While doing this, the government has recently set out a record 6.1 trillion naira budget this year to help
stimulate the ailing economy, which is expected to be approved by the lawmakers this week after a series of delays.
The government is also looking to save money by scaling back trips by government workers and reviewing insurance plans, the advertising budget and fuel costs, the ministry said.

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