Atedo Peterside faults N90bn subsidy for hajj, says FG sending wrong signal

Atedo Peterside, founder of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc and Anap Foundation, has faulted the payment of N90 billion to subsidise the cost of the 2024 hajj pilgrimage by the federal government.


Speaking in an interview on Channels Television on Thursday, Peterside said he has no personal issue with pilgrimage, noting that the religious tradition is a “privilege”.


On Wednesday, Vice-President Kashim Shettima announced that President Bola Tinubu had approved N90 billion to subsidise the cost of the 2024 hajj pilgrimage.


Shettima spoke during the 2024 inaugural hajj airlift at the Sir Ahmadu Bello International Airport in Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi capital.


Reacting to the development, Peterside said the federal government continues to make the mistakes of past administrations in terms of spending public funds.


He said the federal government keeps saying it inherited a “difficult economy,” while its expenditure does not show the seriousness required to rescue the economy.


“I have nothing against pilgrimage. Our economy is in big trouble. The government is trying to convince people that it inherited a difficult economy, and that is trying to correct the mistakes of the past,” he said.


 “It gets very worrying when you say you are trying to correct the mistakes of the past, and every now and then, you repeat another mistake of the past, thereby sending a conflicting signal.


“That perhaps you are not serious about trying to correct all past mistakes. As soon as investors and everybody is about to take them very seriously they do something else that causes everybody to worry.


“This is not the first item. It is one in a series. You remember the luxury SUV cars, jamboree trip to New York and Dubai, and supplementary budget that came out with items nobody understood why they were priority. It is part of the trend.


“It is not about religious pilgrimage; it is a setback for the economy by sending the wrong signal. It is an own goal.”

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