Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), has advocated for a substantial 60% reduction in the overall cost of governance, dismissing recent moves by President Bola Tinubu to slash travel entourages as merely scratching the surface.
In a statement shared on his verified X handle, Obi expressed the need for a more comprehensive approach to curbing government expenditure, emphasizing that solely reducing travel entourages would result in negligible savings.
The presidential spokesperson, Ajuri Ngelale, had recently announced that President Tinubu had implemented a 60% reduction in the number of individuals accompanying officials on both international and local travels.
This initiative was presented as part of broader cost-cutting measures within the presidency, impacting offices such as the president, vice-president, first lady, ministers, and heads of agencies.
However, Obi argued that focusing solely on travel entourages would not be sufficient to address the financial challenges faced by the nation. He urged the government to undertake a thorough revision of the 2024 budget, identifying and eliminating wasteful and unnecessary expenditures.
Obi stated, “The just announced 60% cut in the size of federal official entourages on travels is one positive step towards the reduction of cost of governance and a way of halting wastage.
“But this measure is just scratching the surface as it is limited in scope and can only lead to a very negligible saving. We are yet to be told how much savings this will amount to.
“While this modest step may be somewhat commendable, what is desirable should be both a 60% reduction in federal official overseas trips as well as a 60% reduction in the size of delegations.
“Most importantly, what our current economic reality demands is a 60% reduction in the total cost of governance at the Federal level. This implies that the recently passed federal budget needs to be revised to cut all wasteful and unnecessary items.
“This is the level of cost-cutting and savings that can meaningfully impact the present state of the economy. This level of cut in the cost of government should lead to substantial savings.
“Such savings should be used to fund the productive sectors of the economy and the much-needed social investments, especially in three key areas: education, healthcare, and the migration of millions of Nigerians from poverty.
“Most importantly, it is not enough to announce arbitrary cuts in the size of federal official entourages. The nation needs to be informed of how much the measure will save and where such savings will be applied.”
As discussions on fiscal responsibility and economic prudence continue, the effectiveness of such measures in achieving substantial cost reductions will be closely observed by the public and political stakeholders.