, Tinubu’s trips gulped N3.4bn in six months – GovSpend -

Tinubu’s trips gulped N3.4bn in six months – GovSpend

Within six months of taking office, President Bola Tinubu has already spent at least N3.4 billion on domestic and international travel.

The amount is 36% higher than the N2.49 billion budgeted in the 2023 budget for the President’s travel expenses.

Though Tinubu inherited the budget midway, he spent more than what was assigned for the whole year between June and December 2023.

The acquisition of three bulletproof Mercedes Benz S-class 580s and the provision of additional cars to the State House were also approved by the President for a total of N3 billion.

The government of Tinubu faced criticism from the public last year for providing funding for at least 1,114 participants to the COP28, the annual climate conference of the United Nations, which was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The Presidency claimed to have only sponsored 422 delegates, however estimates indicate that N2.78 billion was spent on airfares and accommodations.

But the Presidency revealed last week that Tinubu had decided to reduce the number of his entourage for both domestic and foreign trips by 60%.

The Special Advisor to the President on Media, Ajuri Ngelale, informed journalists in Abuja that President Bola Tinubu has authorized that he will no longer accept or allow large security delegations to be accompanying him anywhere within this nation. This will result in significant bills regarding estacode and duty allowances.

In the meantime, our correspondent’s investigations utilizing GovSpend, a civic tech platform that monitors and analyzes Federal Government spending, revealed that in the previous six months, N1.15 billion was allocated for presidential visits and associated costs. The figure did not account for the President’s aides and attendants.

The government spent N82.2 million in June, N393.3 million in August 2023 for travel-related expenses, and N287.9 million in September, according to a monthly breakdown of this figure.

President Tinubu spent N314.2 million in November and N69.2 million in December traveling both domestically and abroad, despite no payment being made in October.

Subsequent examination of the expenditures revealed that N732.8 million was given to two travel agencies for the procurement of foreign and domestic airline tickets for the president. This could imply that the President has stopped using presidential aircraft fleets for travel. Hinterland Travels and Travel Options received payments of N687.7 million and N45.1 million, respectively.

Additionally, N1.53bn was used to pay for the purchase of 300 euros and $5.1 million worth of currencies while traveling.

In particular, on September 5, 2023, Oluremi Tinubu, the President’s wife, paid N77.7m to purchase foreign currency valued $94.314, while the President spent N791m to purchase forex worth $4m.

After just seven months in office, Tinubu has already spent 55 days traveling to the following places: Nairobi, Kenya; Porto Norvo, Benin Republic; New Delhi, India; Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates; New York, United States of America; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Berlin, Germany; twice in Paris, France; twice in London, United Kingdom; twice in Bissau, Guinea-Bissau.

The Presidency justified these travels, arguing that they are essential to drawing foreign direct investment into Nigeria, although detractors raise concerns about the economic impact, notably the magnitude of the entourage.

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