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2 Apr, 2024 11:53

Nigeria to sell presidential jets amid economic crisis – media

President Bola Tinubu is reportedly concerned about the cost of maintaining the fleet
Nigeria to sell presidential jets amid economic crisis – media

Nigeria’s government plans to sell three jets from its Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) as part of cost-cutting measures in the West African country, which is grappling with an economic downturn, local media reported on Monday.

President Bola Tinubu has ordered the fleet, comprising six jets and four helicopters, to be reduced due to concerns about increasing expenditure, according to The Nation newspaper, citing an anonymous government source.

“I think officers in [the] PAF were particularly concerned about the frequency of maintenance and how much it costs the nation,” the official told the outlet, adding that the president had decided to let go of the aircraft that constitute “most of the burden.”

According to local media, Abuja had budgeted at least 80 billion naira (around $60 million) for the PAF’s maintenance costs between 2016 and 2023.

Nigeria previously attempted to sell two planes in 2016 during the administration of former president Muhammadu Buhari but was unable to find buyers. The initial bidders reportedly offered $11 million for the Dassault Falcon 7x executive aircraft and a Beechcraft Hawker 4000 business jet, instead of the asking price of $24 million. The government rejected the offer.

Africa’s most populous country has been gripped by a cost-of-living crisis since President Tinubu, who took office in May, removed a fuel subsidy as part of budget deficit-reduction reforms, sparking street protests and nationwide strikes.

Last week, the Nigerian leader, who has vowed to “reengineer” the country’s finances and curb “selfish interests,” issued an order suspending all publicly funded international travel for government officials with the aim of scaling down administrative spending.

The measure, which came into effect on April 1 and is expected to last three months, follows widespread criticism regarding the overseas travel of Tinubu and his officials. More than 400 government personnel attended the COP28 climate conference in Dubai last November.

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