THE federal government plans to spend N94.5 million on bullet-proof tyres for President Muhammadu Buhari and others this year, State House Permanent Secretary Jalal A. Arabi has said. Canteen and kitchen equipment will cost N100.8 million.
These are part of the breakdown of the State House budget presented by Arabi to the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs. The number of treated (bulletproof) tyres that will be bought with N94.5 million was, however, not specified. Arabi told the committee that N94.5 million (50% of the actual sought for in 2016) is proposed for this year.
The amount is expected to address the shortfall and complement the requirement of “the sector which is mostly treated tyres procured at exorbitant price”. On why the tyres should be bought at “exorbitant price”, Arabi explained that “some of the tyres being purchased are actually treated (bulletproof)” and hence constituted the bulk of the purchase cost.
For canteen and kitchen equipment, Arabi said N100.8 million was provided in the 2017 budget. He added: “This amount is principally the unreleased appropriation for 2016, which was the unpaid balance in 2015 for contracts awarded and executed. The sum of N80.2million appropriated in 2016 has up to this moment not been released hence its rollover and inclusion in 2017.”
Arabi noted that it was important to mention that the proposal covered kitchen equipment in the main residence, VP’s residence, banquet hall, State House medical centre, State House auditorium and 22 guest houses. On electricity charges, he said N45.3 million was approved in the last year’s budget. The State House’s electricity bill for 2016, according to Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), was N252 million.
Another outstanding liability of over N300 million for State House, Lagos facilities, Arabi noted that the provision in the 2016 budget could not accommodate the outstanding liability. He said the management of the State House was forced to install meters in 2016 to ensure proper billing “and that was what reduced the bill to a reasonable figure”.
Arabi said that since the bills were subject of reconciliation “we have made a modest provision of the sum of N319.6 million for 2017 to settle current and part of outstanding bills as noted above”. The committee chairman, Senator Tijjani Kaura said the State House Medical Centre should be properly funded as it does not serve the Presidential Villa alone, but provides services for outsiders.
— Feb 27, 2017 @ 01:00 GMT