BORROWING OR SELLING NIGERIA’S ASSETS TO FUND BUDGET IS COMMITTING SUICIDE PETER OBI TELLS FG.
Former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi who was the vice Presidential Candidate of PDP In the 2019 presidential election, on Monday described the federal Government’s plans to sell off some of the country assets to fund the 2021 budget as suicidal. Mr. Obi describe selling of the country’s assets as selling of the future of the country for present gains. “What will your children use tomorrow?” Obi asked when speaking on Arise TV’s morning show on Monday. Obi Said: “It’s like asking me what is my take on selling my property in order to live for today. If you sell the assets today, what are you going to sell tomorrow? What we need to do, as I keep saying is to cut the cost of governance. You cannot have a budget where your recurrent expenditure is 70 to 80 percent and then funding it with borrowing and sale of assets. You are committing suicide.”
Mr. Obi commenting on the claims of presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu that the country’s low ranking in the corruption index on Transparency International (TI) was an indictment of Nigerians and not president Muhammadu Buhari or his administration, insisted that “any assessment of a country is about the government and not the citizens. It is an assessment of transactions within the Government and corporate body” Mr. Obi submitted that there are issues of transparency regarding the procurement of Covid-19 Vaccines, stating that Nigeria does not need more than N150 billion to procure the Covid-19 vaccines. The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, in December 2020 said that the federal Government needs about N400 billion to vaccinate 70 percent of Nigeria’s over 200 million population at $8 per person. The ex-governor said Nigeria would not have needed to spend so much in procuring vaccines if its National Vaccine production facility in Yaba, Lagos was operational.
Mr. Obi said: Now, I hear that we are looking for N400 billion. Well, I am at loss. Our budget this year for health is n547 billion. I don’t know if they are going to take this vaccines procurement from it because if they do, we are left with N147 billion. For the vaccine procurement, we need to have transparency. Today vaccine in India costs between $2.25 and $3. That is an average of $2.75 and if you say you are going to use N400 billion that is about $1 billion. If you divide $ 1 billion by $2.75 that is about 350 million doses, which is far in excess of what we need. World health organization said if you can inject 70 percent of your population, that’s it. 70 percent of Nigerian is 140 million, so we are actually looking for N140 million doses considering that some other people are going to give us some free, we actually don’t need more than 120 million. But even if we are buying 140 million, we just need about three hundred and eighty plus million dollars which is about N150 billion to buy it.” Enahire on Monday said the federal government is expecting 15 million doses of Covid–19 vaccine this February.
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