Senator Ali Ndume, the Chief Whip of the Senate, says that the deal for the presidential yacht, included in the supplementary budget, has indeed been signed and delivered.
The senator disclosed this during a recent interview with Arise Television on Friday. However, he, said the payment for the luxurious vessel has yet to be made.
Ndume explained, “The deal has been signed and delivered, but not paid, and that’s what brought the inclusion of the amount (N5 billion) in the supplementary budget.” He further revealed that concerns were raised about the budgeted amount for the yacht, particularly due to unfavorable exchange rate fluctuations.
“The budget was predicated for about N435, and now it is over N800,” Ndume emphasized. He also clarified that the Navy had confirmed it was not a new budget item and noted that the House of Representatives had reallocated the funds originally earmarked for the yacht to student loans.
The plan to purchase the presidential yacht, which was expected to cost N5 billion in the supplementary budget, had previously faced rejection by the House of Representatives. This move sparked public outrage, with many Nigerians criticizing the expenditure on such a luxury item, given the challenging economic situation in the country.
President Tinubu had presented the supplementary budget to the National Assembly for approval, with the presidential yacht listed under the Nigerian Navy’s proposed capital expenditure of $53 million.
Responding to the controversy, the presidency clarified that the item labeled ‘Presidential Yacht’ in the 2023 Supplementary Appropriation Bill was not intended for President Tinubu’s personal use. Instead, it was designated as such due to the high-level security features it possesses, according to the presidency.
The debate over the presidential yacht’s inclusion in the supplementary budget continues to attract attention and raises questions about the allocation of funds for government projects in Nigeria.