[The Presidential Blog]: Let’s talk about the sale of the Presidential aircraft

Let us start here: There are currently 10 aircraft in the Presidential fleet and the administration of PMB has spent an estimated NGN 5.3billion on maintenance according to this piece by Ayo Opeoluwa of Y Monitor.

The President made the grand campaign promise that he was going to cut down on the fleet within one year of his administration. He also made other grand promises, but it’s okay; at least what they say is “better late than never” not “make hay while the sun shines” right? It’s been almost a year and a half and advertisements fro the sale of two out of ten aircraft have just been put out.

Anyway, I do not want to focus on the ‘whys’ and ‘what ifs’ … because it’s 2016 and forward-thinking behaviour reigns. The crux is that they have decided to offer only two for sale (for now) and we’ll take what we get, won’t we?

The jets on offer are the Falcon 7X and Hawker 4000.

So to avoid any troubles in the future, let me supply unsolicited advice to (read: demands from) the Presidency on how to move on from here. Obviously, I mean how we’d like to see the funds generated from the sale expended.

Before, I make my suggestions, here is a bit of due diligence that I’ve painstakingly carried out just so we do not have to wait for eternity for another one of the Presidential committees to put forth:

presidential-jetsThe Falcon 7X is a business jet manufactured by Dassault aviation that was introduced to the market in 2005. The 7X on offer entered into service in 2011 and it seats 16 passengers and 3 crew members.

The best match online is this one on offer by a company named Avpro Inc. It seats only 15 people and is being offered for $24.95 million. That is approximately NGN 7,609,750,000.

The other jet offered for sale is the Hawker 4000, another business jet, developed by Hawker Beechcraft and has been in production since 2011. The one in Nigeria entered into service in 2012. It seats 9 passengers and 3 crew members. Holstein Aviation Inc. has put up a Hawker 4000 similar to ours for sale at $6,495,000. That is approximately NGN 1,980,975,000.

Safe to say we can expect a NGN 9,590,725,000 increase in Federal Government revenue soon.

Right. So the obvious question is this: what is NGN 9.59 billion worth? What are the meaningful and transparent ways to expend the proceeds of this sale?

Here are a few:

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture needs NGN 332,859,975 for the “Training and empowerment of farmers, women & youth on agribusiness & marketing management & value chain development (vcd) training of trainers (tot) and empowerment of agric and agric related graduates and village alive development initiatives(vadi) in four (4) new states/communities and training need assessment of agricultural research council (arcn) extension services for vcd development (zonal training for extention managers in federal/states and other agencies/institutions)”. 

Maybe we can finally start to appreciate how serious the PMB government is with the whole diversification of the economy into the Agriculture sector business.

The University of Lagos as we know has been suffering some ‘setbacks’. Let’s just call it that even though we all know it’s much more than that; which is why I have included the school specifically here. The students have complained about poor infrastructure.

In the 2016 budget of the Ministry of Education, we understand that the University of Lagos need a total sum of NGN 105,851,955 for “direct teaching & laboratory cost  and construction/provision of public schools”. 

If the Federal government expends part of the proceeds from this sale towards helping the University of Lagos, no one will blame them (I think).

Now let’s move to some capital projects.

The Federal Ministry of Works, Power and Housing needs NGN 210,500,000 for the settlement of legal cases and judgement debts inherited from the defunct PHCN in the 17 distribution & generation companies. The Minister in charge, Babatunde Fashola has complained about how these legal cases have slowed down the work in the power sector and this should help speed up the process of constant power supply in Nigeria in the end.

Finally, we can also spend a bulk of the proceeds on most of the ongoing road maintenance projects that the Federal Road Maintenance Agency has listed as part of its to-do list.

Honestly, there’s no telling how far this sale will go to help speed up important projects. All I am after is the reasonable and transparent process here. We don’t want to have to ask and shout for months before all the necessary details of the sale and after sale process are made public.

Because this one we are already hearing things “NGN 7billion presidential jets”. It’s not NGN 7billion o!

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