Again, Obi cries, says snippets from the 2024 budget show the poor do not matter

....knocks N35.961b for Tinubu/Shettima office renovation, aide trips.
Mr. Peter Obi

In continuation of his reactions to the 2024 federal government budget proposal, which he promised to dissect fully, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25, 2023 general election, Mr. Peter Obi says that snippets of the budget so far from the media space are not encouraging and shows clear misplacement of priorities.

Obi who wondered why it's difficult to put our priorities right questioned the commitment of the APC federal government to the needs of Nigerians, especially the growing large number falling into multi-dimensional poverty in droves.

Obi’s fresh concern after he had lamented the reckless entourage of the government to the COP28 conference and the huge sum being allocated for the renovation and building of a fresh office for the vice president, followed a discovery that another staggering sum of over N35.961b has been earmarked for the renovation of the president, vice president offices and trips of aides in the Presidency in 2024 fiscal year.

The LP standard bearer, in his X handle, could not reconcile the expenditure of N20b for renovation of the offices of the president and his vice, another N15.961b for trips of aides while essential areas like security suffer.

According to Obi, these reckless expenditure profiles are going on with the deteriorating conditions of Nigerians, who are jumping into multi-dimensional poverty in numbers with the government showing little or no interest in their situation.

Obi queried that if such huge amounts go for trips of aides, imagine what their principals and other public officers already flying all over the place will spend.

According to the LP standard bearer in X handle on Friday, December 8, "While I am still waiting for the receipt of the full detailed budget to ensure the prioritization of the items for growth, I wish to comment on some of the items that are already in the public domain. The sum of N15.961 billion has been budgeted for trips for the aides of the president and the vice president. If the aides are spending this much, one can extrapolate that their principals, the president, and the vice president, will spend twice as much which will be about N30 billion. 

"This is only possible considering that the President has done 10 foreign trips in the first six months of his assuming office, (France twice, UK, Germany, India, New York, USA, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, UAE twice, Kenya, Republic of Benin, and Guinea Bissau). This means that in 2024 the president, the vice president, and their aides will be gulping over N45b for trips alone.

"Furthermore, the office of the Chief Of Staff budgeted N20 billion for the renovation of the president and the vice president's office and full computerization. If you add N45 billion, being the least that will be spent on transport, and N20 billion earmarked for renovations, it comes to about N65 billion, which is more than N57 billion, being the amount passed by the Senate last week for the Police Trust Fund, to secure over 200m people.

"Let me show you what this amount can do for our dear country, especially in critical areas. For example, in security; 

"We have over 5000 Police stations and operations, across the country. Half of these police stations have no functional vehicles. Even those that have, are given less than N5000 for fuelling in a day, which is why if you are lucky, for respected people like me, and call the police for any intervention, the first thing they tell you is - we have no fuel. 

"Assuming we decide to prioritize our lists and use these resources as most of the trips and the renovations are of no value to our growth and productivity, we can approach local manufacturers like Innoson and co, who as of today are selling their 4 by 4 truck at about N30 million. We will be able to get a 20% discount because we are buying in large quantities and paying them upfront, it will amount to N25 million each, which will be N62.5 billion for half of the police stations that do not have vehicles today, and which will be taken care of by the money we save from trips and renovations.

"The N15 billion budgeted for the new house of the vice president can be used for fuelling the police cars by tripling their fuel allowances to N15,000 per day, which will come to N13.687 billion.

"I urge that we urgently revise our budget and prioritise our needs of health, education, and pulling people out of poverty which will only be achieved by prioritising our present budget.

"It is time we recognized our difficulty, especially the suffering of the poor masses, and prioritized our expenditure. That is what we clamour for in the New Nigeria which is POssible.
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