Tinubu directs sale of three presidential jets over cost of maintenance

Three jets in the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) will be sold off to cut down the cost of running the government. 


There are 10 aircraft currently in the presidential fleet – six jets and four helicopters – which will be cut to seven if the planned action sails through, according to The Nation.


According to the report, this is part of the cost-saving measures being adopted by President Bola Tinubu’s administration. 


Not less than N80 billion had been budgeted for the PAF as maintenance cost, from 2016 to 2023. In 2016 (N3.65 billion), 2017 (N4.37 billion), 2018 (N7.26 billion), 2019 (N7.30 billion), 2020 (N6.79 billion), 2021 (N12.55 billion), 2022 (N12.48 billion) and in 2023 about N25.7billion, made up of N13billion in the budget and N12.7billion in the 2023 Supplementary Budget.


Although the amount released from the budgetary line year on year could not be ascertained, the President was said to be uncomfortable with the rising cost of maintenance and therefore directed that the fleet should be reduced.


Citing a source, the president was particularly concerned about the frequency of maintenance and how much it costs the nation.


The source said: “The President is uncomfortable with the rising cost of maintaining the planes.


“Three planes have been pencilled down for disposal. The main reason is cutting down high maintenance costs.


“I think officers in PAF were particularly concerned about the frequency of maintenance and how much it costs the nation.


“The President decided to let off the aircraft that constitute the most burdensome.”


Then-President Muhammadu Buhari’s government also planned to sell off two planes in the fleet but eventually failed to dispose of them.


In October 2016, a Dassault Falcon 7x executive jet and a Beechcraft Hawker 4000 business jet were put up for sale. The preferred bidders who initially agreed to pay $24 million for the two aircraft, later reduced their offer to $11 million. This was rejected by the then government.


Thereafter, an arrangement to put some of the aircraft on chatter for willing governors was initiated to make the planes income-generating, thereby reducing the government expenses on maintenance.

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