• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Peter Obi fumes as accountant-general’s office holds workshop for 36 state commissioners, others in London 

N15bn budget allocation for National Assembly hospital insensitive— Obi

Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate in the last general elections, said Nigerians must vehemently condemn the decision of the accountant-general’s office to hold a workshop in London, saying that “the decision is not only unacceptable but also deeply troubling on multiple levels.”

Obi said this in a statement on his X account on Saturday.

BusinessDay had earlier reported how the account-general’s office held a workshop for 36 state commissioners and others in London.

The event was themed “Public Financial Management and IPSAS Workshop for State Commissioners of Finance and Officials of OAGF.”

Reacting to the development, Obi pointed out that due to the current economic situation, the state of the national currency, and the overall economy, any public event held overseas reflects a lack of sensitivity by the government, agencies, or individuals involved.

“Given the prevailing hardship in the country and the pitiable State of our national currency and the economy in general , any public function abroad amounts to insensitivity on the part of the government and any agency or individuals involved,” he said.

The former governor of Anambra emphasised that this act shows a lack of concern for fiscal responsibility and the wise use of public funds.

With Nigeria facing economic issues such as inflation, currency devaluation, and an increasing budget deficit, he argued that spending public money on overseas workshops is irresponsible.

The former presidential candidate suggested that funds should instead be used for domestic needs like healthcare, education, infrastructure, and poverty reduction.

“The resources allocated for such purposes should be directed towards addressing pressing domestic needs, such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and poverty alleviation,” Obi said.

He also notes that conducting a workshop in London could create a negative impression among Nigerians and the international community, reinforcing the image of government officials living in luxury at the public’s expense.

He said, “Furthermore, holding a workshop in London sends the wrong message to the Nigerian people and the international community. It perpetuates the perception of government officials indulging in luxury and extravagance at the expense of the common citizen.”

Obi expressed concern that this action may contribute to a sense of elitism and disconnect from the challenges ordinary Nigerians face, including high living costs and limited access to basic services.

He questioned the need and value of having a workshop abroad, especially in an expensive city like London, when Nigeria has many capable professionals and experts. He believed that by holding such events overseas, the government does not utilize local expertise and knowledge.

Obi raised issues about the transparency and accountability of the government’s procurement process for the workshop. He called for clear explanations for choosing London as the venue and the process for selecting vendors and contractors.

“Additionally, holding a workshop in London raises concerns about transparency and accountability in government procurement processes. There must be full disclosure and justification for why London was chosen as the venue, as well as how the selection of vendors and contractors was made. Any hint of impropriety or favouritism in awarding contracts for such events must be thoroughly investigated and addressed,” he said.