In a report by Saharareporters about 736 Nigerians have appended their signatures to an online petition initiated by Tracka to ask the Nigerian Senate to remove frivolous items contained in the 2023 supplementary budget sent by President Bola Tinubu’s administration.
The online platform earlier reported how Tinubu’s administration proposed to spend N5.095 billion on a presidential yacht and the sum of N1.5 billion to buy vehicles for the office of the First Lady, despite the prevailing poverty and economic hardship faced by the Nigerian citizens due to the government’s policies.
According to Tracka, a social platform for Nigerians who are interested in tracking budgets and public developmental projects in their community, the online petition was necessitated by the insensitive nature of Tinubu’s government to the current plights of the Nigerians.
The budget has scaled the second reading at the House of Representatives.
“The supplementary budget contained frivolous and illegal line items, which has sent the nation into an uproar, with claims that the FG is being insensitive to the plight of Nigerians by deciding to spend scarce resources on the purchase of yachts and vehicles, etc, when we should be cutting back on spending,” a statement attached to the online petition reads.
The statement continues: “While the budget has passed the second reading at the Senate, Nigerians want the following line items deleted, or reallocated to sectors that will benefit Nigerians, such as education and healthcare.
Presidential Yacht – N5.09 billion
Purchase of Official Vehicles for the Office of the First Lady – N1.5billion
Purchase of SUV Vehicles – State House – N2.9 billion
Replacement of Operational Pool Vehicles – State house – N2.9 billion
Renovation of Presidential Quarters for Mr President – N4 billion
Construction of Office Quarters – State House – N4 billion
Renovation of Dodan Barracks (Official Residence of Mr President) – N4 billion
Renovation of Official Quarters of Vice President in Lagos – N3 billion.
“On May 29, 2023, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu declared in his inauguration speech that ‘Subsidy is Gone’. That single statement has had debilitating ripple effects on the economy, especially on the poor, who make up a large number of Nigeria’s teeming population. Last year, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics announced that 133 million Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor.
“President Tinubu gave justifiable reasons for removing the fuel subsidy, albeit, with dwindling revenue, rising debts, and a crippling economy, the country was unable to afford the expense, which had gulped N1.8trn from the federation’s coffers just 5 months into 2023, and in 2022 the total revenue generated by the government was N3.63trn, it was economically irresponsible for Nigeria to keep subsidizing petrol, and wise for the government to channel the funds into strengthening the flailing economy.
“The removal took petrol from selling at N186 per litre to N617 per litre in less than six months, plunging more people into further hardship as Nigeria’s economy heavily relies on petroleum – transportation, electricity, food prices, etc.
“Inflation has soared from 17.71% in May 2023 to 26.72% in October 2023, with no end in sight. On October 1st – marking Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day, President Tinubu addressed the nation, citing that citizens should be patient, and bear with the economic hardship that it will lead to a ‘brighter future.’
“Nigerians have taken austere measures to adjust to the economy as the government has advised, but the government does not want to take its own advice.”