Budget 2017: FG to spend N432m on cars for ex-presidents

ABUJA—The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) has allocated the sum of N432. 193 million for the purchase of cars for the nation’s seven former Presidents/Heads of State and four Vice Presidents. The figure also included funds for the purchase of vehicles as contained in the proposed 2017 federal budget. Specifically, for the Procurement of vehicles for the seven former Presidents and Heads of State, the sum of N280.099 million was set aside, while the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has proposed N120.090 million for the purchase of cars for the four former Vice Presidents. This is a far cry from the N2.3billion the Federal Government proposed to spend on the 11 former leaders and families of those who are dead, in 2016. The former Presidents and former Heads of State are General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Ibrahim Babangida, Chief Ernest Shonekan, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, General Olusegun Obasanjo, and Goodluck Jonathan. The former Vice Presidents and former Chiefs of General Staff are Dr. Alex Ekwueme, Air Cdr Ebitu Ukiwe, General Oladipupo Diya, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku and Alhaji Namadi Sambo

In spite of budgetary provisions, four of the former leaders – Shagari, Babangida, Obasanjo and Jonathan, were last month, reported to be owed 10 months pension arrears. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, who disclosed this to visiting members of the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs in Abuja, said President Buhari could not approve payments for the affected ex-presidents due to lack of funds. Adapted from the United States of America, which has an elaborate welfare package for former rulers, Nigeria started paying entitlements to former presidents by Decree 32 of 1999. In 2001, it became the Remuneration of former Presidents, heads of Federal legislative Houses and Chief Justices of the Federation (and other Ancillary Matters) Act. The Act was further amended by the National Assembly in 2008 and 2010. The 1999 Law provides for the remuneration of former Presidents and former Vice presidents, each former President and former Head of state is entitled to N350,000 per month, while former Vice Presidents and former Chiefs of General Staff are entitled to N250,000 per month for their up-keep. 

The Act states: “As from the commencement of this Act, all former-Presidents and Heads of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as “former Heads of State”) shall be-(i) paid the sum of N350,000 per month as up-keep allowance; and (ii) entitled to the perquisites of office specified in Part I of the Schedule to this Act; and (b)Vice-Presidents and Chiefs of General Staff of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (in this Act referred to as “former Vice-Presidents”) shall be- (i) paid the sum of N250,000 per month as up-keep allowance; and (ii) entitled to the perquisites of office specified in Part II of the Schedule to this Act. There were also provisions for domestic staff, security aides, vehicles and up keep allowances for families of deceased presidents. Apart from the former presidents, the SGF intends to spend N1.322 billion for the installations of Security equipment in some Ministries, Departments and Agencies. 

However, the list of the MDAs to benefit from that project were not contained in the budget. The allocation for honorarium and sitting allowances stood at N528 million; while welfare packages would take N163.4 million. The SGF’s publicity and advertisement budget stood at N200 million; while subscription to professional bodies was allocated N237.999 million. The budget for the Electronic Document and Content Management System was put at N290 million and an additional N45 million for Electronic Document and Archival Management in the same office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. Support and management of E-Council Document management was equally allocated another N104.586 million. This is in addition to Archival Project Phase I, II, & III (Cabinet Secretariat document and file digitization) which was allocated N29. 5 million. Independence Day/Democracy Day celebrations was earmarked N170 million; while it has planned to spend the sum of N124 million on the rehabilitation of the building and electrical component of the Shehu Shagari Complex. 

The OSGF also proposed to spend N55 million on the purchase of an equipment for the production of Staff Identity Cards and installation of a File Tracking System. Upgrading and turn-around maintenance of the Council Chambers Conference System is to gulp N55 million. 1 Xerox D125 photocopy machine N35 million and another N3.8 million budgeted for the purchase of multi-functional Photocopy machines (for the Procurement Department) in the OSGF. The SGF’s office also earmarked N55.8 million for the purchase of 52 laptop computers (MAC BOOK). Meanwhile, President Buhari and his vice, Professor Yemi Osinabjo, would be spending a total of N168, 462, 132 on food stuff and catering materials in 2017 if the budget is approved by the national assembly. Similarly, both men would also spend N62, 850,000 on advertisements and publicity stunts. They would also spend a couple of millions of Naira on local and international travels. This was according to the details of the 2017 Appropriation Bill exclusively obtained by Vanguard. Recall that the President on December 14, presented the budget estimates of N7.298trn to a joint session of the National Assembly. 

Breakdown of the estimates in the president’s office showed that Food stuff/ catering material supplies would cost N114,967,140; Honorarium and sitting allowance would gulp N188,000,004; postage and courier services would take N5,600,000 while   publicity and advertisements would as well consume N48,205,000. On the travels, the president would spend N239,201,008 on local travel/transportation and N739,487,784 on international travels and transportation. For the Vice president office, N246,000 was earmarked for cooking gas/fuel; food stuff/catering material supplies would cost N53,494,992; Honorarium and sitting allowance would take N21,300,000; N1,766,460 would be spent on postage and courier services;   welfare packages would take N24,400,000; sporting activities would also consume N5,770,000 while publicity and advertisements would take N14,600,000. Vice President’s movements, both local and foreign would cost the country N306, 680, 640.

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Source : vanguardngr


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