The administration led by President Bola Tinubu has denied reports of plans to purchase a presidential yacht worth N5 billion.
The earlier reports suggesting the government’s intention to spend N5 billion on a presidential yacht as part of the 2023 Supplementary Budget have been refuted by the administration.
The breakdown of the budget for the Nigerian Navy includes a request for N5 billion for a presidential yacht. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Temitope Ajayi, has clarified that President Bola Tinubu did not request a presidential yacht and does not consider it necessary in the current state of the economy.
He noted that the request for a yacht was framed in the Navy’s budget, and it is assumed that they have an operational reason for it.
The statement reads: “It has become a pattern for some individuals, CSOs and a section of the media to pick one or two line items every budget cycle for sensational headlines, deliberately ignoring context in their reporting.
“The public that should benefit from good journalism, which should primarily educate and adequately inform, is left confused and miseducated due to the mischaracterisation of issues and misrepresentation of facts.
“The trending issues on social media since yesterday are two items in the 2023 supplementary budget. One is the provision for a presidential yacht in the supplementary budget by the Navy and the other is over N6 billion for vehicles to the State House.
“It is important to state clearly that President Bola Tinubu didn’t ask for a presidential yatch and I doubt he needs one to perform the functions of his office. From what I know, the request for a yacht, however is named or couched in the budget from the Navy and they must have operational reasons for why it is required.
“The budget office should be in a position to also explain to the public why such expenditure should be accommodated now, considering the economic situation of the country. I must readily admit that the one reason our budgeting system has been a subject of public attack is the very simplistic way some of the line items are described by civil servants, who prepare the budget. Examples abound.
“Sometimes in 2016, an Enterprise Resource Planning project of the Ministry of Solid Minerals worth over N300m then was captured in that year’s budget as “website”. Naturally, it generated a massive controversy as people, rightly, asked to know the type of website that will be built with N300million.
“It is important to say that journalism should enrich public enlightenment and not create an atmosphere of siege. It is poor reporting to always reduce State House budgetary provisions to the President and Vice President.
“When the State House makes provision for vehicles, it is reported as if it is the President that will use all the vehicles or eat all the food when a provision is made for food and catering services. We have had such inaccurate reporting in the past”.