The allocation of N5.09 billion for a presidential yacht in the Federal Government’s N2.1 trillion supplementary budget has ignited a wave of controversy in Nigeria. This substantial sum is listed within the Nigerian Navy’s proposed capital expenditure, totaling N42.3 billion. Additionally, the government has planned to allocate N12.5 billion to the Presidential Air Fleet.
The Presidential Air Fleet is comprised of several aircraft, including a Boeing Business Jet, one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V, two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, and several helicopters. These allocations have raised eyebrows as Nigeria grapples with economic challenges and fiscal constraints.
The budget, submitted by the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, swiftly passed its second reading at the National Assembly. However, it has faced public backlash and criticisms due to certain allocations deemed extravagant and insensitive.
Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, the Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, expressed strong disapproval of these budgetary items, labeling them as financial recklessness. He highlighted that Nigerians are enduring economic hardships, and such allocations are seemingly inconsiderate.
Kabir Isah, a public affairs analyst based in Abuja, voiced concerns about the budget’s implications on the nation’s debt situation. He urged the government to prioritize revenue generation and questioned the absence of plans to support local vehicle manufacturers.
Addressing the controversy and clarifying the ownership of the presidential yacht, a social media commentator known as Woye emphasized that the yacht belongs to the Nigerian Navy, not President Tinubu. He pointed out that the procurement and budget approval processes had been initiated before President Buhari’s administration. The proposal for purchasing the presidential yacht was initially made by the Nigerian Navy during the previous Federal Government, not under President Goodluck Jonathan.
As Nigerians scrutinize the budget, the allocation for the presidential yacht remains a focal point of debate, reflecting broader concerns about fiscal priorities and accountability within the government.
The controversy surrounding these allocations underscores the need for transparency, efficient resource utilization, and the alignment of government spending with the pressing needs of the Nigerian population, particularly during challenging economic times.