Cut the presidency’s budget by 26 billion naira for medical center, travel, meals, according to SERAP in Buhari

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urged President Muhammadu Buhari “to reduce the presidential budget by 26 billion naira for the construction of the presidential wing of the state medical center, local and foreign travel, meals and refreshments, “sitting allowance”, and “social assistance program”, and to use part of the savings to cope with the growing level of deficit, as well as to improve public health facilities across the country. “

SERAP also urged him “to send to the National Assembly a new supplementary appropriation bill, which reflects the proposed reduction in spending for the construction of the state medical center, local and foreign travel, meals. and refreshments, and the “social package”, for its approval. . “

In the letter dated October 9, 2021 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Many Nigerians will find it quite strange, unfair and unfair that the government is spending so much money on many of these items. in the midst of government borrowing crisis. The proposed spending could be better allocated to improve Nigerians’ access to basic public goods and services.

SERAP said, “The government will continue to borrow to finance the country’s budget until there is a substantial reduction in the cost of governance. The government should stop spending so much money on these items. Persistent borrowing is neither sustainable nor equitable to the Nigerian people. “

According to SERAP: “Your government has a responsibility to ensure the well-being and prosperity of Nigeria and its citizens. The growing budget deficit and debt problems threaten Nigerians’ access to essential public goods and services and will harm future generations if not urgently addressed.

The letter, read in part: “SERAP also urges you to publish details of the expenditure for the construction and repair of the presidential wing of the medical center and office furniture and equipment since May 29, 2015.”

“The proposed spending figures highlight the lack of political will to reduce the cost of governance, starting with the presidency. These expenditures are unsustainable and would take away essential funds to provide access to quality health care and education. “

“It would leave the poorest and most vulnerable without access to these essential public goods and services, and strain the next generation. “

“According to our information, for the President’s office, you recently proposed in the 2022 Appropriation Bill to spend N 24,835,805,231 for the construction of the Presidential Wing at the State Medical Center, local travel and foreigners, meals and refreshments. “

“The construction of the presidential wing will cost N 21,974,763,310. It is proposed to spend N 2,309,066,788 for travel and general transport, while N 301,138,860 will be spent on food and transportation supplies. catering equipment. It is proposed to spend N 250,836,273 for refreshments, meals, honoraria, sitting allowances, publicity and advertisements.

“For the Vice President’s office, 1,136,717,757 N is proposed for local and foreign travel, meals and refreshments, purchase of office furniture and equipment, and other expenses. The details are as follows: N778 261 411 is suggested to be spent on travel and general transport. “

“N168 210 826 is offered for office / computer supplies, consumables, document printing, uniforms and other clothing, food and catering supplies. N2,350,626 is suggested for cooking gas and fuel cost.

“It is proposed to spend N 99,795,229 for refreshments, meals, honoraria, sitting allowances, publicity and advertisements. 31,909,380 N is proposed for the acquisition of computer software while 30,817,085 N is proposed for the purchase of motor vehicles. N25 373 200 is offered for the purchase of office furniture and fixtures.

“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended actions were taken within 14 days of receipt and / or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP will take all appropriate legal steps to compel your government to comply with our requests.

“SERAP fears that the huge spending is neither necessary nor in the public interest, especially in the face of the country’s dire economic situation, meager allocations for education and health, and the increasing level of borrowing from your country. government to finance the 2022 budget. “

“Spending limited public funds on the construction of the presidential wing of the state medical center, local and foreign travel, meals and refreshments, honoraria and seat allowances, and social benefits at a time when government borrowing to finance the budget would undermine constitutional and fiduciary duties to ensure responsible budget spending.

“The country’s fiscal position needs to be changed – and changed quickly – through a combination of cuts in the areas highlighted above. Reducing waste and seemingly unnecessary spending would go a long way in solving the budget deficit and debt problems. “

“The recommended measures would also ensure that your government spends the maximum of the country’s available resources to respect, protect, promote and meet the basic needs rights of poor and marginalized groups.

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