Africa · Nigeria

Don’t miss the point, it is about TRUST!

Those giving economic arguments for or against fuel subsidy withdrawal miss the point totally. It is not about economics. It is about TRUST!

No Nigerian trusts GEJ’s administration to use any money for the benefit of the people. Funds are for pocketing by govt officials & friends!

The spending pattern & priorities of GEJ since 2010 is evidence of who he cares for and what. Let us look at his budget record from 2010.

Between 2010-2011, GEJ has spent N9.557 trillion. N4,427bn in 2010 budget, N645bn supplementary in 2010, N4,485bn in 2011. The results? ZERO.Under his watch, we increased our debt stock by about $20bn, ran down excess crude from $6bn to zero, FX reserves from $45bn to $ 30bn.

Under GEJ, Dollar exchange rate moved from >N140 to N160 today. Debt stock has doubled to higher than 2005 levels. Interest rates over 20%!

And all this is while nearly 10 trillion Naira has been spent on government officials, trips abroad & prequisites/subsidies to politicians!

Power supply improvement? Minimal. Jobs created? Zero. Transport Infrastructure? Zero. Agricultural output? Minimal. Private jets? Yes, lots.

Let us look at the 2012 Budget proposals in some details to see whether GEJ is willing to reduce the high lifestyle of those in power.

We will look at the budgets proposed for three Presidency MDAs – the State House where P & VP work, the Offices of the SGF & Head of Service.

The three MDAs intend to spend a total of N27bn as “overheads” for 2012. Nearly N2 bn will be spent traveling with N1.675bn in GEJ’s office!

Stationery, refreshment & snacks in the Presidency will consume about N2bn, with N1.6bn spent by GEJ & his VP in 2012. Does that make sense?

The President & VP intend to spent about N2.8bn to “maintain” their existing furniture, generators, etc, & N238m for fuel! Is this prudent?

Miscellaneous spending by the Villa alone totals N1.7bn for food, honorarium & something called “welfare packages” – another security vote!

The SGF & Head of Service have over N2.5bn for these “miscellaneous expenses” including nearly N300m for “welfare” & N270m “security vote”!

Why can’t some of these areas of waste be cut to fund capital projects & others that benefit the populace like the fuel subsidy?

In the 2012 budget, NASS intends to spend N150bn on itself, the same amount as in 2011 to pay those huge allowances. It has NOT been reduced.

So we will spend about N320m for every NASS member in 2012, as we did in 2011. Where is the shared sacrifice? Where is accountability?

We must resist the N8,000 tax being imposed on every man, woman & child to fund the fuel subsidy & insist that FG cuts its own wastefulness!

The issue with GEJ is simply that of trust. He has wasted huge financial resources & put us in debt in the last 20 months. We must be wary!

Tweets by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai

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