The Center for Fiscal Transparency and Integrity Watch (CeFTIW) condemns the insertion of what we consider as “frivolous items” in the recently approved 2023 supplementary budget of over N2.17 trillion by the Federal Executive Council. These frivolous items in President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR proposal, is, to say the least, insensitive and a demonstration of the lack of empathy and understanding of the nation’s dire economic situation.
The earmarking of the sum of N5.8 billion for the procurement of vehicles for the State House, N1.5 billion for new cars for the “Office of the First Lady”, N4 billion for the renovation of residential quarters for Mr. President, N3 billion for the renovation of VP’s official residence in Lagos, among other frivolous items, shows that the President and his team lacks an understanding of the current plights of ordinary Nigerians.
This, also coming barely a month after the President, in his Independence Day Broadcast, has asked Nigerians to make sacrifice after tripling the price of fuel, with inflation rate at an historic 26.72 percent in September, 2023, speaks of political rhetoric, and contradicts the President’s “Renewed Hope” agenda that’s meant to approach governance differently. These policy choices by the President clearly reflects a lack of fiscal responsibility and threaten the economic stability of our nation.
While we welcome the capital vote of N300 billion to the Ministry of Works for road rehabilitation and construction, we hope that the administration will reconsider the aforementioned frivolous items in the proposal to avoid further plunging of the economy in the negative. In this same vein, we urge the President to urgently prioritize prudent financial management, transparent decision-making, and responsible allocation of resources to safeguard the economic well-being of our nation.
The National Assembly should be aware that Nigerians currently have little confidence in their watchdog functions as required by law. May it be stated that our democracy can only grow when there are effective checks and balances to curb abuse of power. While we encourage good relationship among all arms of government, the interest of the people must be seen to be represented; this cannot be said to be the case in the referenced case.
We therefore call on the National Assembly to, at all times prioritize the interest of the people, especially when it has to deal with decision that impacts on the ordinary people and the stability of the economy.
Public Relations Lead