President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will spend a total N3.5 billion on travel and food in 2020, a figure that is more than double what they spent in 2019, according to the budget proposal submitted by the president early October.
The proposed budget is awaiting the passage of the National Assembly. If approved, it will be the highest figure yet spent by the first two citizens on travel and food.
The amount spent in 2019 was N1.4billion. The sharp rise comes at a time of increased worry about President Muhammadu Buhari’s growing foreign trips.
The president flew out of Abuja on Monday to Saudi Arabia for what officials said would include official meetings and a religious event. He will then travel to the UK after for a two-week vacation.
Mr Buhari just returned last week from Russia. Critics have questioned the real benefits of the trips that come at huge costs to the nation.
In the 2020 budget, over N2.5 billion has been budgeted for the president’s local and international travels.
Despite his new foreign travel guidelines for ministers which Mr Buhari said would curb leakages and ensure efficiency in the management of resources of government, President Buhari’s allocation for international travels increased from N751 million in 2019 to N1.75 billion.
Also, N775 million is budgeted for the president’s local travels, a whopping rise from the N250 million budgeted for the same purpose in 2019.
Similarly, N98 million was budgeted for the president’s foodstuff and catering supplies, while N25 million was budgeted for refreshments and meals.
For refreshments and meals, the president and his household and office are expected to spend more than N68,000 per day asides from the foodstuff and catering services.