Global Economy

published : 2023-11-10

Nigerian President Approves Controversial Budget with Growing Economic Disparity

Critics view Bola Tinubu's administration's actions as another sign of economic disparity

A photo of Nigerian President Bola Tinubu signing the supplementary budget, taken with a Nikon D850.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has recently approved a supplementary budget that has sparked anger among ordinary Nigerians.

The budget includes millions of dollars for a presidential yacht and sport utility vehicles for Tinubu's wife and top government officials.

This move has intensified concerns over the growing economic divide in the country.

On Wednesday, Tinubu signed into law a budget that allocates $38 million for the presidential air fleet and various renovations.

Initially, $6.1 million was assigned for the yacht, but lawmakers redirected it to 'student loans' with the senate's approval.

Although the country’s navy claimed to have received the yacht, it remains unpaid for.

An image of a crowded street in Nigeria's capital city, Abuja, showcasing the everyday struggles of ordinary Nigerians, captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV.

Amidst public outcry, labor unions have taken to the streets to protest the soaring cost of living under the new president's administration.

They are calling for the government to take action to alleviate the worsening economic situation.

However, Presidential spokesperson Anjuri Ngelale defended the supplemental budget, stating that it aims to enhance Nigeria’s security architecture and address critical infrastructure deficits.

According to Ngelale, approximately 30% of the allocated funds will be used for security purposes, while 35% will be dedicated to critical infrastructure development.

In a recent development, the country’s 460-member national assembly announced that each lawmaker will receive a new SUV at a reported cost of over $150,000 each.

Lawmakers justified this expense by claiming that the vehicles will enable them to perform their duties more effectively.

A photograph of protesters from Nigerian labor unions advocating for fair wages, shot with a Sony A7 III.

This, however, has further fueled the frustration of ordinary Nigerians, who are witnessing increasing food prices and a disparity in earnings between politicians and professions such as medical professionals, who often resort to strikes to protest their low wages.

The dire situation in Nigeria has left many like Nduka Omeje, a trader in Apo resettlement, feeling the harsh reality of poverty.

He lamented, 'It is by the grace of God that I can eat. It is hard.'

Labor unions have been struggling to persuade the government to raise the minimum wage for civil servants from a meager monthly sum of $67.

The last pay increase occurred in 2019 as a result of widespread worker protests.

This ongoing narrative of economic disparity has deeply affected the lives of ordinary Nigerians, and there is a need for significant change to address the inequality.