Nigeria contemplates selling presidential aircrafts amid economic predicament


(MENAFN) Reports from local media indicate that Nigeria's government is considering selling three jets from its Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) as part of broader cost-cutting measures amid the country's economic downturn. President Bola Tinubu has reportedly ordered a reduction in the fleet, which currently consists of six jets and four helicopters, citing concerns over escalating expenditures.

According to sources cited by The Nation newspaper, the decision to downsize the PAF stems from growing apprehensions among officials about the high costs associated with frequent maintenance of the aircraft. The president is said to have opted to part ways with the jets that impose the greatest financial burden on the nation.

It is reported that Nigeria allocated at least 80 billion naira (approximately USD60 million) for the maintenance costs of the PAF between 2016 and 2023. However, amid ongoing economic challenges, there has been a renewed push to streamline government spending and prioritize essential services.

This is not the first time Nigeria has attempted to sell aircraft from its presidential fleet. In 2016, during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari, efforts were made to sell two planes, including a Dassault Falcon 7x executive aircraft and a Beechcraft Hawker 4000 business jet. However, initial bids fell short of the government's asking price, leading to the rejection of the offers.

The decision to divest from presidential jets comes at a time when Nigeria is grappling with a significant cost-of-living crisis. President Tinubu's removal of a fuel subsidy, as part of broader deficit-reduction reforms, has triggered widespread public outcry, resulting in street protests and nationwide strikes.

As Nigeria navigates these economic challenges, the move to sell presidential jets underscores the government's commitment to fiscal prudence and resource optimization. However, the success of these efforts may depend on finding suitable buyers willing to meet the government's valuation for the aircraft.

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