Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, has challenged the federal government to go beyond its 0.6% reduction of the 2020 Budget in view of the dwindling world economy occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Atiku, in a series of tweets on his verified Twitter account, said the 0.6% reduction announced by the government was just a window dressing and that the government must now cut its coat according to its cloth.

“Realistically slash the budget. Every pork barrel has to go. The billions budgeted for the travels and feeding of the President and Vice President has to be reduced. The ₦27 billion budget for the renovation of the National Assembly has to go.

“The massive budgets to run both the Presidency and the Legislature has to be downsized. The budget for purchasing luxury cars for the President, his vice, and other political office holders must be abandoned.

“Leave the salaries of civil servants alone, but reduce the salaries of political appointees. Sell 8 or 9 of the jets in the Presidential Air Fleet.

“Any budget slash that is less than 25% will not be in the interest of Nigeria,” the presidential candidate of the PDP in 2019 election said.

He also said beyond “a budget slash, Nigeria needs a budget realignment, to redirect expenditure away from running a massive bureaucracy, into social development sectors like education, infrastructure, and above all, healthcare.

“We must invest in the goose that lays the golden egg – the Nigerian people.

“These are the types of sacrifices that we need in a time of crisis. We do not need empty gestures that will lead to empty treasuries.

“In times of austerity, no nation, not the least a mono-product economy, such as ours, should be living in luxury at a leadership level.”