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2023 Budget Defence: State House gets nearly 50% Cut

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2023 Budget Defence: State House gets nearly 50% Cut

The Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, says the State House 2023 budget proposal of N21.1bn is comparatively lower than the 2022 appropriation of N40.1 billion by 19.01billion.

Umar revealed this when he led other top management staff of the State House to defend the 2023 budget proposals before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs, on Thursday in Abuja.

In his submission, which also included details of the 2022 budget performance, the Permanent Secretary noted that there was a marginal decrease in the personnel cost due to the anticipated retirement of 40 staff in 2023.

According to him, the recurrent expenditure levels in the various cost centres have been maintained except for marginal increases in the Office of the President, Vice President and the Chief of Staff to the President.

On capital expenditure for 2023, Umar explained that the major areas of expenditure in the State House under capital appropriation include the annual routine maintenance of the facilities in the Presidential Villa, Abuja and the State House Complex, Lagos.

It also includes the purchase of operational motor vehicles, the State House Clinic and the proposed National Centre for Coordination for Early Warning and Response Mechanism (NCCRM) in the office of the Vice President for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience (OSPRE).

The facilities in Abuja and Lagos include but are not limited to buildings and infrastructure in the President’s and Vice President’s residences, Offices, State House Auditorium, State House Gymnasium and Presidential Banquet Hall.

Others are, Council Chamber, State House Conference Centre, Presidential and Ministerial Airport Chalets and Airport Lounge in Abuja as well as State House, Dodan Barracks Complex in Lagos.

While noting that commitment to these facilities takes 65 percent of the total appropriation, Umar disclosed that in order to keep them in optimal working condition, N7.20 billion had been proposed for the year 2023 as against N7.76 billion in 2022.

‘‘Closely following this, is the dire and urgent need for the complete replacement and upgrading of the communication/telephony system and electronic visitors record management in the Presidential Villa,’’ he said.

He added that N150 million had been proposed for the completion of the telecommunications infrastructure in 2023.

On the facilities and buildings in the Lagos Liaison Office Complex and Guest Houses, the permanent secretary told the Committee that ‘‘they are old and require not only maintenance but renovation and renewal.’’

He, therefore, expressed concern that the provision of N59 million for the maintenance of State House Lagos Complex and Guest Houses was inadequate.

He said that an estimated sum of N644 million would be required to upgrade the facilities.

On the purchase of operational motor vehicles and following discussions with the Budget Office of the Federation, Umar said N1.96billion had been proposed under the phased replacement of vehicles in the Presidential Ground Fleet and those in the Conference Coordination Unit (CCU).

‘‘It is noteworthy that most of the vehicles being proposed for replacement were procured more than 10 years ago and have since exceeded their useful economic lives.

‘‘This has resulted in frequent breakdowns and an unsustainable expenditure on repairs/replacements of parts,’’ he said.

He maintained that the released amount of N800 million was inadequate to procure the required numbers that need to be replaced partly because some of the vehicles are treated and very expensive.

At State House Clinic, Umar thanked the Committee members for their support in getting the Presidential/VIP Wing of State House Clinic off the ground.

He expressed delight that the project which was flagged off on Nov. 1, 2021, was at an advanced stage of completion.

‘‘This level of progress was attained given the full support of Mr President and the assistance of key stakeholders especially this distinguished Committee which has appropriated funds needed with the backing of and support of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning,’’ he added.

According to him, the project, which is 80 percent completed, will be delivered by the end of Dec. 2022 or latest during the 1st quarter of 2023.

Speaking on behalf of the Committee, the Chairman, Sen. Abba Moro, before adjourning the meeting sine die, said:

‘‘I am not unmindful that the State House is the hub of the government and everything radiates from there.

”We would do the needful and if there is a need for us to see you again, we will invite you.

”But so far with what has been discussed and presented to us, we will be able to do the needful to the satisfaction of all.’’

 

 

 

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Economy

Sanitary Pads: Reps Query Minister Over N65m Spent On New Year Party, Others

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 The Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohaneye has drawn the ire of the House of Representatives following the unguarded manner she allegedly spent monies which included expenditures of N45 million for a New Year party and, N20 million for sanitary pads.

The House of Representatives which has now queried the minister, also frowned on her other unrelated expenditure which includes N1.5 million for vehicle fuel.

Rep. Kafilat Ogbara, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, led the interrogation of the Minister, over the non-payment of N1.5 billion to contractors despite the fund release in Abuja.

She said that the investigative hearing was aimed at uncovering the truth and not witch-hunting the Minister and the officials of the ministry.

The committee also investigated the alleged diversion of funds meant for contractor payments, following a petition from contractors.

The committee also sought clarification on funds appropriated for the African First Lady’s mission and the whereabouts of the N1.5 billion meant for contractor payments.

The minister however denied the allegations of misappropriation, overspending, and non-payment to contractors.

The procurement officer confirmed contractors’ claims, and the Director of Finance and Administration acknowledged only paying approved contracts.

It would be recalled that the committee had at its last sitting summoned the minister to appear before it to explain the rationale behind the non-payment.

The committee also ordered the stoppage of all 2024 contract processes by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs until the whereabouts of the money for the said contracts are determined

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Economy

LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaningful

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LASU: Town, Meets Gown Next Tuesday, To Make Rails Transportation More Meaning

…NRC Boss, Engr. Okhiria is Pointman

The Town and the Gown will on Tuesday converge at the Lagos State University (LASU), in a mutual fusion of quality and sustainable ideas, as the Managing Director, Nigeria Railways Corporation speaks on where the eggheads necessarily need to intervene, for the overall benefit of the nation.

NRC Boosts Passenger- Safety With  Strong Armed Forces Collaboration 
Engr. Fidet-Okhiria

Prof. Bamidele Badejo who is now back in LASU, confirmed this to the Maritime First, highlighting that Engr. Freeborn Okhiria would meticulously dissect a critical issue, titled: ‘From Exclusive Clause To Concurrent List: Potency for sustainable rail infrastructure development in Nigeria and the Lagos State example.

Oluwaseun Osiyemi, the Lagos State Commissioner of Transport, will be in attendance; at an event which will flag off by noon prompt, Tuesday 16th, July 2024, at the Femi Gbajabiamila Conference Centre.

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Economy

Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

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Reps Probe Cbn’s N1.12trn Anchor Borrowers Scheme, NIRSAL’s N215b Loan

The House of Representatives has ordered probes into the N1.12 trillion anchor borrowers scheme, an initiative of the Federal Government’s interventions and agricultural funding through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Also included in the probe are the Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), the Bank of Industry (BoI) and other agencies.

The resolution followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Chike Okafor (APC-Imo) on the floor of the House in Abuja on Tuesday.

Presenting his motion, Okafor linked the growing food scarcity and malnutrition in Nigeria to the alleged mismanagement of agricultural funds intended for agricultural development in the country.

He said the Federal Government had expended N8 trillion in 8 years on various schemes and interventions in the last eight years with the view of making food available for millions of Nigerians.

He added that the alleged mismanagement, misapplication of funds and abuse of the programmes had left Nigeria with the twin challenges of food scarcity and malnutrition.

Okafor said that funds advanced to end users of the various Federal Government interventions had also been allegedly misused, misapplied and channelled to non-farming and non-agricultural purposes.

This, he said, was responsible for the current acute scarcity of food in the country.

Adopting the motion, the House mandated the Committee on Nutrition and Food Security as well as the Committee on Agricultural Production and Services; Agricultural Colleges and Institutions and Finance, to probe

The Committees were mandated to thoroughly investigate CBN’s alleged mismanagement of the Anchor Borrowers Program (ABP) for which ₦1.12 trillion was to be disbursed to 4.67 million farmers.

The farmers were said to be involved in either maize, rice or wheat farming through 563 anchors.

The committees are to look into NIRSAL’s disbursement of ₦215,066,980,274.52, to facilitate agriculture and agribusinesses.

The House gave the committees four weeks to report back to the House.

The house also mandated the committees to equally assess how the Bank of Industry (BOI) disbursed N3 billion to 22,120 smallholder farmers through the Agriculture Value Chain Financing (AVCF) Programme.

The committee is also to investigate the handling of the N5 billion loan facility to the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) for livestock farmers across the country.

This will include the management of the National Agricultural Development N1.6 billion Recovery Fund for the Ginger Blight Epidemics Central Taskforce (GBECT).

This is for the control of Blight disease in Ginger, among other interventions. 

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