In a jaw-dropping revelation, the Nigerian Federal Government’s 2024 budget allocation has sparked widespread concern as it earmarks N346 billion for luxurious expenditures, including presidential vehicles, meals, air fleets, and various other expenses.
This eyebrow-raising allocation comes at a time when the country is grappling with economic hardships, leaving civil societies lamenting the seeming lack of fiscal prudence.
The Budget Office of the Federation unveiled the intricate breakdown of the budget, showcasing an allocation of N319.28 billion for sundry items such as publicity and advertisements, medical expenses, welfare packages, sports activities, and more across government ministries, departments, and agencies (MDAs).
N5.84 billion will be designated solely for meals and refreshments by these entities in 2024.
Highlighting the disbursements, N20.52 billion has been set aside for the Presidential Air Fleet, encompassing maintenance, fueling, and overhauls of various aircraft engines.
Additionally, sums are allocated for State House operational vehicles, renovations of presidential and vice-presidential quarters, and digitalization endeavors, accumulating to a chunk of the budget.
The Presidency’s budget saw an increase of 83.58%, totaling N272 billion, with spikes in personnel, overhead, and capital expenditures. This surge in allocations has stirred debates about the high cost of governance amid declining revenues.
President Bola Tinubu’s vision for the budget, themed ‘Budget of Renewed Hope,’ aims for economic growth, stability, human capital development, and poverty reduction.
Despite these aspirations, concerns loom large regarding the budget’s emphasis on recurrent expenditures rather than addressing revenue generation challenges.
Amidst the uproar, civil society organizations have raised poignant questions about the rationale behind such lavish spending in dire economic times. James Ugochukwu of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room expressed dismay over the unjustifiable increases, emphasizing the need for transparency regarding the specific areas driving these augmented allocations.
Andrew Mamedu from ActionAid Nigeria stressed the importance of directing the budget towards initiatives that directly benefit citizens, protect lives, and improve welfare. Auwal Rafsanjani of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre lamented the administration’s apparent disregard for fiscal responsibility laws, citing reckless borrowing without tangible benefits.
As debates rage within the National Assembly, the scrutiny and deliberations on the budget proposal continue, leaving Nigerians with apprehensions about the prudent utilization of public funds amidst pressing economic challenges.