Nigeria Seeks Airline Discounts to Cut Government 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.

A “conservative” 5 percent reduction on airfare tickets would save the West African government about 4 billion naira ($20 million) every year, the Abuja-based ministry said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. 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.”

Nigeria’s, 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. The government has set out a record 6.1 trillion naira budget this year to help stimulate the economy, which is expected to be approved by 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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