The Presidency has discredited a report claiming that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration proposed to allocate N5.095 billion in the supplementary budget for the purchase of a presidential yacht.
On Thursday, a Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Temitope Ajayi, disclosed that the mentioned yacht was requested by the Nigerian Navy, and not the president.
“It is important to state clearly that President Bola Tinubu did not ask for a presidential yacht and I doubt he needs one to perform the functions of his office,” Ajayi said in a statement on Thursday.
“From what I know, the request for a yacht, however it is named or couched in the budget, is from the Navy and they must have operational reasons for why it is required.
“The budget office should be in a position to also explain to the public why such expenditure should be accommodated now, considering the economic situation of the country.
“I must readily admit that the one reason our budgeting system has been a subject of public attack is the very simplistic way some of the line items are described by civil servants, who prepare the budget.”
Ajayi said that examples abound as sometime in 2016, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) project of the Ministry of Solid Minerals worth over N300m was captured in that year’s budget as a “website”.
Naturally, it generated a massive controversy as people, rightly, asked to know the type of website that would be built with N300million.
The Senior Special Assistant to Tinubu on Media and Publicity said it is important to say that journalism should enrich public enlightenment and not create an atmosphere of siege.
“It is poor reporting to always reduce State House budgetary provisions to the President and Vice President,” Ajayi stated.
“When the State House makes provision for vehicles, it is reported as if it is the President that will use all the vehicles or eat all the food when a provision is made for food and catering services.
“We have had such inaccurate reporting in the past. A President and Vice President cannot, for any reason, spend N20 million naira to eat in a year if it is about the food they will eat as first and second families.
“How much food can a person eat? Yet, we will read headlines that Tinubu, Buhari, Jonathan, or whoever the President is wants to spend N5 billion on food and catering in a year when in fact such budgetary provisions are made to accommodate many state events, meetings, hosting of VIPs, foreign dignitaries, and even visits by other Head of States, and bilateral and multilateral meetings that the State House will deal with in a given year.”