Obi Decries Exit Of Investors From Nigeria, Knocks N35.961bn For Tinubu/Shettima Office Renovation And Aides’ Trips

The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the Federal 2023 general, Peter Obi, has decried the exit of credible international firms from Nigeria as a bad omen and not good for the country.

Obi said in his X handle that the departure of three global firms in the health and energy sectors says a lot about the state of affairs in our country.

“A few months ago, I lamented about the exit of the international Pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) from Nigeria. GSK remains a top global pharmaceutical manufacturer and has had 51 years of operations in Nigeria, the reason for their exit being that there was no longer any perceived growth in Nigeria anchored on productivity.

“Today, Procter & Gamble (P&G), the world’s largest personnel care and household products company, makers of iconic brands like Pampers, Gillette, etc, is again leaving Nigeria, for the same reason GSK left.

“Following this also are FMCG and top Energy firm, Norwegian behemoth Equinor which has sold off its Nigerian business.

“Fifteen years ago, P&G, as they are commonly called, viewed Nigeria as a strategic country of importance and invested millions of dollars in an ultra-modern chain supply structure in Agbara which, sadly, is now up for sale.”

The LP standard bearer noted that “The presence of these iconic companies in any economy is not only that they signify trust and confidence, as well as believe in medium to long-term socio-economic prospects of such countries, but they massively create jobs, invest in Research and Development, as well as pieces of training which smaller players in the industry learn from and adapt.

According to him, they help, to a great extent, to develop local talents for both local and global jobs.

“The exit of these top global companies basically shows that our medium to long-term prospects strategy is in the negative, our investment profile is not attractive and our business environment is deteriorating continually. The declining purchasing power of Nigerians is nose-diving every day.

“In the face of the absence of the rule of law, and a conducive business environment, it will be difficult to retain such iconic companies and talk more about attracting new ones.”

He finally charged “Governments at all levels in Nigeria must therefore take immediate steps to ensure that institutions of governance are put in place and actively engaging to show that the situation is reversed.”

Again, Obi faults 2024 Budget; knocks N35.961b for Tinubu/Shettima office renovation and aide trips

In continuation of his reactions to the 2024 federal government budget proposal which he promised to dissect fully, the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25th general election, Peter Obi says that snippets of the budget so far from the media space are not encouraging and show clear misplacement of priorities.

Obi, who wondered why it’s difficult to put our priorities right questioned the commitment of the APC federal government to the yawning needs of Nigerians especially the growing large number falling into multi-dimensional poverty in droves.

Obi’s fresh concern after he had lamented the reckless entourage of the government to the COP28 conference and the huge sum being allocated for the renovation and building of a fresh office for the Vice President, followed a discovery that another staggering sum of over N35.961b has been earmarked for the renovation of the President, Vice President offices and trips of aides in the Presidency in 2024 fiscal year.

The LP standard bearer in his X handle could not reconcile the expenditure of N20bn for renovation of the offices of the President and his Vice, another N15.961bn for trips of aides while essential areas like security suffer.

According to Obi, these reckless expenditure profiles are going on with the deteriorating conditions of Nigerians who are jumping into multi-dimensional poverty in numbers with the government showing little or no interest in their situation.

Obi queried that if such huge amounts go for trips of aides, imagine what their principals and other public officers already flying all over the place will spend.

According to the LP standard bearer in X handle on Friday, “While I am still waiting for the receipt of the full detailed budget to ensure the prioritization of the items for growth, I wish to comment on some of the items that are already in the public domain. The sum of N15.961 billion has been budgeted for trips for the aides of the president and the vice president. If the aides are spending this much, one can extrapolate that their principals, the president, and the vice president, will spend twice as much which will be about N30 billion.

“This is only possible considering that the President has done 10 foreign trips in the first six months of his assuming office, (France twice, UK, Germany, India, New York, USA, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, UAE twice, Kenya, Republic of Benin, and Guinea Bissau). This means that in 2024 the President, the Vice President, and their aides will be gulping over N45bn for trips alone.

“Furthermore, the office of the Chief Of Staff budgeted N20 billion for the renovation of the President and the Vice President’s office and full computerization. If you add N45 billion, being the least that will be spent on transport, and N20 billion earmarked for renovations, it comes to about N65 billion, which is more than N57 billion, being the amount passed by the Senate last week for the Police Trust Fund, to secure over 200m people.

“Let me show you what this amount can do for our dear country, especially in critical areas. For example, in security.

“We have over 5000 Police stations and operations, across the country. Half of these police stations have no functional vehicles. Even those that have, are given less than N5000 for fuelling in a day, which is why if you are lucky, for respected people like me, and call the police for any intervention, the first thing they tell you is – we have no fuel.

“Assuming we decide to prioritize our lists and use these resources as most of the trips and the renovations are of no value to our growth and productivity, we can approach local manufacturers like Innoson and co, who as of today are selling their 4 by 4 truck at about N30 million. We will be able to get a 20% discount because we are buying in large quantities and paying them upfront, it will amount to N25 million each, which will be N62.5 billion for half of the police stations that do not have vehicles today, and which will be taken care of by the money we save from trips and renovations.

“The N15 billion budgeted for the new house of the Vice President can be used for fuelling the police cars by tripling their fuel allowances to N15,000 per day, which will come to N13.687 billion.

“I urge that we urgently revise our budget and prioritise our needs of health, education, and pulling people out of poverty which will only be achieved by prioritising our present budget.

“It is time we recognized our difficulty, especially the suffering of the poor masses, and prioritized our expenditure, that is what we clamour for in the New Nigeria which is POssible.”

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