The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, LP, in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi, has urged the federal government of Nigeria to recognize the difficulty, especially the suffering of the poor masses and prioritize capital expenditures in the 2024 budget.
Dissecting the 2024 budget as presented by President Ahmed Bola Tinubu to the National Assembly, Obi said there is urgent need to review the budget and revise it to target the country’s urgent needs in Health, Education, and pulling people out of poverty..
His X post on Saturday, December 9, 2023 reads:
:”Good morning Nigeria. While I am still waiting for the receipt of the full details of the 2024 budget for examination and 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 means that in 2024 the office of the President and 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 offices in Lagos and Abuja and their full ‘digitization’. If you add N45 billion, being the least that will be spent on transportation, 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. Join me in figuring out the alternatives of what this amount can do in real productive terms for our dear country, especially in a critical area like internal 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 fuel in a day, which is why if you are lucky, for prominent people like me, to call the police for any intervention in an emergency, 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 others and order 2500 4×4 trucks which as of today cost 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 operational vehicles today, and which will be taken care of by the money we save from the budgeted travel and renovations.
“The N15 billion budgeted for the new residence of the Vice President can be used for fuelling police operational cars by tripling their fuel allowances from about N5000 presently to N15,000 per day, which will come to N13.687 billion.
“By prioritizing our planning, and budgeting this way, we will not only be securing the country better but will be making our local industries more productive and profitable, thereby creating the desperately needed Jobs.
“I urge that we urgently review our budget and revise it to prioritize our urgent needs in Health, Education, and pulling people out of poverty which will only be achieved by a planning and budgeting strategy that targets these critical need areas.
“It is time we recognize our difficulty, especially the suffering of the poor masses and prioritize our expenditure. That is what we clamor for in the New Nigeria which we insist is very possible.”