Nigeria’s government’s new 2023 supplementary budget of N2.1 trillion has widened the trust deficit between Nigerians and the present administration, and this could cost the economy.
Most Nigerians say It will be harder for the government to convince the people to make the sacrifices required for economic reforms when it has demonstrated a lack of regard for the citizens by spending N1.5 billion on vehicles for the Office of the First Lady, an office that is not recognised by the country’s constitution.
Aside from the Office of the First Lady, the government plans to spend another N2.9 billion on Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) for the Presidential Villa, and another N2.9 billion to replace operational vehicles for the presidency.
The government is also proposing to spend N4 billion on the renovation of the residential quarters of the president, and N2.5 billion on the renovation of the vice president’s resident. In all, N28 billion is proposed for the State House.
It is planning to spend N12.5 billion on the Presidential Air Fleet.
The presidential fleet includes Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or NAF 001), one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters.
“While Nigerians are going through a spike in cost of living, the president will be spending billions on the jets,” Charles Akinbobola, analyst at Lagos-based Sofidam Capital said.
The approval of the supplementary budget may not get any resistance from lawmakers, who despite public outcry, spent over N75 billion on procuring luxurious “official vehicles” for themselves.
More details later…