COVID-19: Reduce salaries of political appointees, sell presidential jets, Atiku tells FG/ Atiku

Former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, has called on Federal Government to do away with unnecessary spendings amid the economic crunch brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.  

Speaking in a statement issued on Thursday, Atiku, tasked the federal government to go beyond reduction of the 2020 budget by 0.6%, noting more drastic measures are needed to sustain the country in the face of rising economic crisis.

He said: “It is to my consternation that despite the crash in the price of oil, and the inability of Nigeria to expand our revenue base through the non-oil sector, the FG of Nigeria has only seen fit to slash our budget by a mere 0.6%. This represents a reduction of only ₦71 billion.

“Putting politics aside, this is grossly insufficient and betrays the fact we have lost touch with the current realities in the global political economy.”

The Presidential Candidate for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2019 election argued that the 2020 budget should have been slashed by at least 25%.

“How can anyone justify a reduction in expenditure of just 0.6%? We cannot be the only nation bucking the trend?

“Saudi Arabia, a nation with a much stronger production capacity than ours and with a larger global market share, as well as a foreign reserve that is 12 times ours, has slashed her budget by almost 30%. Ditto for other oil economies.

“Any budget slash that is less than 25% will not be in the interest of Nigeria.”

He went on to cite other measures that should be taken by the federal government including reduction of salaries of political appointees as well as scrapping the N27 billion budget for the renovation of the National Assembly.

Atiku added: “The billions budgeted for the travels and feeding of the president and vice president has to be reduced. Sell eight or nine of the jets in the presidential air fleet. Leave the salaries of civil servants alone, but reduce the salaries of political appointees.”