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Nigerian lawmakers OK president’s extra spending request amid criticism

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Saturday, November 4th, 2023
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Nigerian lawmakers on Thursday approved President Bola Tinubu’s $2.8 billion supplementary budget that includes new bulletproof cars for himself and his wife, drawing outrage from citizens grappling with a cost of living crisis.

Tinubu sent the budget to the Senate and House of Represantives this week saying the extra funding was needed for “urgent issues” including defence and security and would form part of the 2023 spending plan.

But his government’s plans to also spend 5.095 billion naira ($6.47 million) on a presidential yacht, 1.5 billion naira ($1.91 million) on official vehicles for the office of the first lady and 12.7 billion naira on the presidential air fleet has not been received well.

An amount of 4 billion naira has been earmarked to renovate the president’s residential quarters, among other expenditures, drawing sharp criticism from Nigerians who face economic hardship, with inflation in double-digits and rising.

Rights group Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project said Tinubu should urgently remove the “outrageous” expenditure on vehicles or face legal action.

Life has worsened after Tinubu initiated reforms including scrapping a costly but popular fuel subsidy that tripled pump prices and lifted restriction on foreign exchange trading.

Tinubu who has been under pressure from unions to offer relief to households and workers, have asked Nigerians to be patient that reforms was necessary to save the country from going burst.

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