The Nigerian government has earmarked a total of N13,805,814,220 for the upkeep of former presidents, vice-presidents, heads of state, Chiefs of General Staff, retired heads of service, permanent secretaries, as well as retired heads of government agencies and parastatals in the 2024 fiscal year.
The beneficiaries include former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, as well as ex-vice-presidents Atiku Abubakar, Namadi Sambo and Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
According to PUNCH, they are also expected to benefit from the windfall are ex-military Heads of State, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdusalami Abubakar, as well as a former dictator and self-styled military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, and a former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.).
Also, N1tn was provisioned for the public service wage adjustment for government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (including arrears of promotion and salary increases, and payment of severance benefits and minimum wage-related adjustments).
A breakdown shows that the entitlements of former presidents/heads of states and vice-presidents/chief of general staff will cost N2.3bn, while N10.5bn is proposed as benefits for retired heads of service, permanent secretaries and professors.
The payment of severance benefits to retired heads of government agencies and parastatals is proposed to cost N1bn.
Other allocations include N65bn for the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the reintegration of transformed ex-militants; N1bn for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Energy; and N108bn for unnamed special projects.
Under capital supplementation, zonal intervention, otherwise called constituency projects for federal lawmakers, gets N100bn; special projects, N108bn; contingency (capital), N200bn; aid and grants funded projects, N685.6bn; and National Social Investment Programme Agency, N100bn.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, on Saturday expressed optimism that the 2024 budget would mark a transformative era in the country once it was passed by the National Assembly.
The minister, while declaring open the Kaduna State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations Annual Public Lecture/Annual General Meeting, noted that the budget signified a pivotal step towards the realisation of Tinubu administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.
“As the 2024 appropriation bill moves through the legislative process, we are very optimistic that its passage will mark the beginning of a transformative era, bringing tangible improvements to the lives of Nigerians. Before the budget presentation, President Tinubu had assented to an equally important supplementary budget, signed several landmark bills and Executive Orders into law, and inaugurated special presidential initiatives on fiscal policy reform, Compressed Natural Gas, food security, MSME support, and other critical areas of the economy. The goal has been to deliver relief to the Nigerian people and lay the groundwork for true and lasting prosperity.
“At this juncture, let me remind us that one of the pillars of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s eight-point agenda is inclusivity, which means inclusive policies and programmes for all segments of the population, especially youths and women. You can see manifestations of this even in the array of appointments made by the President so far, and the prominence given to young people and to women. This is not to say we have done enough, and can therefore rest on our laurels. No.
“We can still do better, and I can assure you that President Tinubu will continue to push the envelope in this regard. In addition to appointments and representation, the Tinubu Administration has very importantly been rolling out policies targeted at creating the enabling environment for Nigerians to thrive across all demographic categories.”