Toba Owojaiye reporting
In a move that has sparked criticism from labor unions, the Federal Government has slashed the supplementary budgetary allocation for wage awards to federal civil servants by N100bn. The revelation came to light with the release of details from the Revised 2023 Supplementary Budget, which showcased significant alterations to various allocations.
Truth Live News reports that the major contentious decision involved the reallocation of N5bn earmarked for a presidential yacht to Navy barges. This controversial move, along with other adjustments, contributed to a surge in the defense budget from N476.54bn to N546.21bn. Furthermore, N20bn was allocated for capital supplementation to the National Intelligence Agency.
The changes led to a public outcry over what was perceived as extravagant items in the initial budget proposal.
Originally estimated to cost the government approximately N210bn, the four-month wage award underwent a substantial reduction to N110bn in the approved document. The Ministry of Defence also witnessed a significant increase of N69.67bn, with the Nigerian Navy securing an additional N25bn, bringing its total allocation to N87.8bn.
The controversial N5.095bn initially designated for a presidential yacht found a new purpose in the purchase of a self-propelled barge. The Nigerian Navy additionally received extra funds for building construction, tugboats, and other purposes. This redirection of funds has intensified the debate surrounding government spending priorities.
Labor unions are particularly vocal in their criticism of the wage cut, arguing that it negatively impacts federal civil servants. The National Assembly, responsive to public concerns, intervened by amending the budget to address perceived extravagance. As the government faces growing scrutiny over these budgetary decisions, the impact on both defense capabilities and civil servant morale remains a subject of public concern.