A breakdown of the State House expenditure in the 2017 budget shows that 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 made this known while defending their budget to the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs.
Arabi told the committee that N94.5 million (50% of the actual amount sought for in 2016) is proposed for this year, though he did not specify the number of treated (bulletproof) tyres that will be bought with the amount.
The amount is expected to address the shortfall and complement the requirement of ‘the sector which are mostly treated tyres procured at exorbitant price’.
Arabi explained that the tyres are to be bought at “exorbitant prices” because some of the tyres being purchased are actually treated (bulletproof)” hence constituting bulk of the purchase cost.
He also disclosed that the state house had allocated N100.8 million for canteen and kitchen equipment in the 2017 budget.
Arabi mentioned that the amount proposed for the canteen and kitchen equipment covered equipment in the main residence, VP’s residence, banquet hall, State House medical centre, State House auditorium and 22 guest houses.
Further clarifying the details, Arabi said the 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.”
Also, there is a proposal for the sum of N52.8 million in the 2017 budget. Arabi informed the Committee that the bills received from Abuja Environment Protection Board (AEPB) for liquid waste disposal for the state House for 2016 is in figure sum of N15.6 million with outstanding liabilities of previous years standing at N37.5 million (totalling N52.8m).
He said this informed the provision of the same figure amount in the sum of N52.8 million in 2017. “We have however, commenced negotiation with AEPB in order to arrive at mutually acceptable charges henceforth.”
N45.3 million was approved in last year’s budget for electricity charges. According to Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC), the State House’s electricity bill for 2016, 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, disclosing that the management of the State House was forced to install meters in 2016 to ensure proper billing “which reduced the bill to a reasonable figure”.
Consequently, the state house made a modest provision of the sum of N319.6 million for 2017 to settle current and part of outstanding bills since the bills were subject to reconciliation, Arabi said.
On the other hand, Senator Tijjani Kaura, chairman of the senate committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs outlined that the State House Medical Centre should be properly funded as it does not serve the Presidential Villa alone, but provides services for outsiders.