by Hauwa Gambo
The Presidency promised, under pressure from the #OccupyNigeria protests, to cut down government spending significantly. Not much appeared to have been done, but now there are reports that those steps have been taken.
Below are excerpts from how Premium Times is reporting it:
“President Goodluck Jonathan discreetly reversed his administration’s plan to spend more than half a billion naira on assorted armoured utility cars after a bloody protest in January, but only managed to lower a controversial N947 million feeding cost by a meager N90 million, a re-examination of the approved 2012 budget has shown.
The budget, revised once by Mr. Jonathan before a final passage by the National Assembly in April, provides details of how the president responded stealthily to the barrage of criticisms he faced over the proposed expenditures without making public the adjustments.
The anti-fuel subsidy removal demonstrations, in which at least a dozen Nigerians died, had drawn steam, in part from public anger over media exposes that the presidency planned the mega car and food spending.
Weeks after the protest, Mr. Jonathan cautiously overturned the decision to purchase two Mercedes Benz Cars for himself and Vice President Namadi Sambo’s at N280 million, and also stopped the purchase of other utility vehicles totalling N238 million.
The presidency also re-ordered several sub-heads in its budget, lowered the initial costs of purchasing electronic equipment including scanners, photocopiers and printers, and restructured its recurrent expenditure by N2 billion. But the most controversial subhead, the N947 million feeding bill, was only reduced to N857 million.
The amendments are contained in the budget revision which the president re-submitted to the National Assembly in February, in which he made N101b cut on the N4.8 trillion budget earlier presented to the lawmakers. The cuts spread across ministries and departments.
The reductions appear a major win for a public query of government spending, although the presidency’s own adjustments seemed not to have been intended for immediate public knowledge, and even lawmakers may not have spotted them.
John Enoh, the Chairman House of Representatives Appropriation committee, said “if” there were changes in the presidency’s budget during the revision, then it came from the executive as would be expected.”
What do you think – has he gone far enough? Is this a smoke-screen? N90m surely is not a lot of money, so?