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Friday, May 24, 2024

Reps Reject N5bn Presidential Yacht, Move Budget To Student Loan

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The House of Representatives Thursday rejected President Bola Tinubu’s request to purchase a N5.095 billion presidential yacht in the 2023 supplementary budget following the uproar over the issue. The House instead added the money budgeted for the yacht to the N5.5 billion budgetary allocation for student loans, making it N10.595 billion. Speaking to reporters in Abuja, the Committee on Appropriations Chairman, Abubakar Bichi, said they also increased the Ministry of Defence’s budgetary allocation from N476 billion to N546 billion.

Bichi also said they had approved workers’ minimum wage for onward transmission to the executive. The committee promised to ensure a 100 per cent implementation. Similarly, the House approved N100 billion for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and N18 billion for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Meanwhile, the Presidency clarified that Tinubu did not request for a presidential yacht.

It insisted that the N62 billion presidential yacht proposed in the supplementary budget belonged to the Nigerian Navy. Presidential spokesman Bayo Onanuga said: “What was named as a presidential yacht in the budget is an Operational Naval boat with specialized security gadgets suitable for high profile operational inspection and not for the use of the President. It is called a presidential yacht by way of nomenclature because of its high-level security features.

“The Naval boat was ordered by the navy under the previous administration. President Tinubu has consistently said that the government is a continuum as he inherited both assets and liabilities of past administrations. “The payment request for the boat was part of the committed obligation submitted by the office of the Chief of Naval Staff to the Ministry of Defence. The total of the submitted requests was in excess of N200 billion out of which N62 billion was approved by the President.”

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