The candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 presidential election, Peter Obi, has called for an urgent review of the 2024 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Bola Tinubu, to reflect the needs of Nigerians.
Obi on his X handle over the weekend, condemned the sum of N15.961 billion budgeted for trips for the aides of the president and the vice president, contained in this year’s budget.
He noted that if the aides were going to spend such huge much of money, “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 N45 billion for trips alone.”
The former Anambra State governor advised that the government’s attention should be paid to health, education, and pulling people out of poverty, which he added, would only be achieved by prioritising the present budget.
“It is time we recognised our difficulty, especially the suffering of the poor masses, and prioritised our expenditure, that is what we clamour for in the new Nigeria which is possible,” he said.
Obi had earlier kicked against the sum of N20 billion earmarked for the renovation of the vice president’s office, in the 2024 fiscal year.
The former Labour Party candidate argued that the total amount of money budgeted for the renovation of the vice president’s office, and travels for the presidency and their aides is more than N57 billion passed by the Senate last week for the Police Trust Fund.
According to him, half of the over 5,000 police stations and operations across the country have no functional vehicles.
He contended that “Even those that have, are given less than N5,000 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 prioritise 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 percent 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.”