For presidential yacht, vehicles, computers, others, FG outlines budgets of N33bn

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Details of expenditure outlined in the N2.176 trillion 2023 supplementary budget for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) has revealed that the federal government proposed an an allocation of N5.095 billion for the acquisition of a presidential yacht and N28billion for other needs in the State House.

In the proposed supplementary budget, N28 billion is allocated for the State House, covering various expenditures and improvements.

The proposed budget allocation for the yacht is captured in the budget for the Nigerian Navy.

The Nigerian Navy’s budget proposal encompasses a recurring expenditure of N20.42 billion and a capital expenditure of N42.3 billion, resulting in a total budget of approximately N62.8 billion, as indicated in the document.

Additionally, the Nigerian Navy’s budget plan encompasses several key components, including the purchase of vehicles, construction of naval bases in Lekki and Epe, procurement of essential equipment and the acquisition of ammunition.

 If approved by the National Assembly, a total of N28 billion will be allocated for various purposes, including house renovations and vehicle purchases for the president, vice president and official vehicles for villa staff.

Specifically, N4 billion is earmarked for the renovation of the president’s residential quarters in Abuja, with an additional N4 billion allocated for the renovation of Dodan Barracks for the president.

Moreover, N3 billion is designated for the renovation of the vice president’s official quarters in Lagos, while N2.5 billion is allocated for the renovation of Aguda House.

For vehicle purchases, the breakdown is as follows: N2.9 billion for SUV vehicles, N2.9 billion for the replacement of pool vehicles, and N1.5 billion for the purchase of official vehicles for the Office of the First Lady.

Another significant expense is the construction of an office complex in the State House, with a budget of N4 billion.

Also, there are allocations for the acquisition, renovation and rehabilitation of two EFCC-fortified quarters as part of the State House Complex in Mabushi, with each receiving N1.5 billion.

A similar complex in Guzape is also designated for N1.5 billion in funding, even as N200 million is set aside for the computerization and digitisation of the State House.

During the budget defense session, Hon. Abubakar Bichi, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, elaborated on the N2,176,791,286,033 supplementary appropriation bill presented to the National Assembly earlier this week.

He said, “This proposal is meticulously designed to enhance various aspects of our nation’s well-being, with a focus on improving security, food security, and critical road infrastructure. It also aims to address the housing deficit in the country, encompassing slum upgrades and urban renewal efforts.

Additionally, this appropriation seeks to support the wages of workers and facilitate cash transfers to vulnerable Nigerians. It will allocate resources for the upcoming off-cycle elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo States”.

Breaking down the allocation for key ministries and sectors, the ministry of Defence is to receive a total of N476,543,847,421, with N215,937,945,659 allocated for recurrent expenditure and N260,605,901,762 designated for capital expenditure.

For the federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, a total budget of N200 billion is distributed as N104.800 billion for recurrent expenses and N95.200 billion for capital investments.

Within the Police formations and commands’ budget of N50 billion, N29,661,660,269 is earmarked for recurrent expenses, while N20,338,339,731 is allocated for capital expenditures.

The Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) is allocated a total of N29,700,606,916, with N27,402,410,057 allocated for recurrent expenses and N2,298,196,859 for capital expenses.

Also, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCT) is set to receive N100 billion; the Department of State Services (DSS), N49,046,831,697; the State House N28 billion; Federal Ministry of Works, N300 billion; Federal Ministry of Housing, N100 billion; Service Wide Vote, N615 billion, capital supplementation, N210.500, and Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), N18 billion in funding.

Meanwhile, economic experts have expressed strong dissatisfaction with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s recently revealed supplementary budget proposal, which allocates N6.9 billion for the purchase of vehicles for the State House and N1.5 billion for new cars for the office of the first lady, among other seemingly extravagant items.

An economist, Dr Ayo Ojo, described the proposed expenditure as excessive spending on luxurious cars by the presidency and National Assembly, while Nigerian citizens bear the brunt of substantial taxes.

He said, ‘‘In the supplementary budget, amounting to N2.17 trillion submitted to the National Assembly for approval and aims to address various pressing financial needs of the government, N2.9 billion is designated for the acquisition of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for the Presidential Villa, with an additional N2.9 billion slated for the replacement of vehicles within the government’s fleet.

“Furthermore, N4 billion is allocated for the construction of an office complex in Aso Rock, and N3 billion is earmarked for the renovation of the Vice President’s official residence in Lagos.

‘This is extravagant spending, especially as Nigerians grapple with rising living costs. Petrol prices have tripled since the removal of the costly fuel subsidy program by Tinubu, and the exchange rate has reached a record low after the Central Bank allowed the currency to weaken. While these measures may have long-term economic benefits, they have exacerbated the cost of living crisis in Nigeria.’’

Reacting to the supplementary budget, vice president of HighCap Securities Limited, David Adonri, said the supplementary budget 2023 is contrary to expectations.

“We were expecting President Bola Tinubu to rationalize expenditure and then review the huge budget inherited from the previous government of Mohammodu Buhari,” he stated.

He explained that the 2023 budget was a big deficit budget, and adding N2.1trillion to the already overblown budget means that the deficit in the budget will escalate very severely.

Noting that the escalation of the deficit has serious implications,

Adonri further said, “The deficit of the supplementary budget will have to be financed by additional borrowing as this will increase the debt profile of the Country.”

On his part, Fisayo Soyombo, an investigative journalist, stated:via his X handle: “All this from a president who, in his Independence Day speech just four weeks ago, urged Nigerians to “endure this trying moment. The president is enjoying; the people are enduring…”

Soyombo’s views are shared by multiple Nigerians who are venting their anger at the insensitivity of the presidency.

“How can anybody justify this? How?” Another Nigerian said on twitter, referring to the breakdown of the supplementary budget.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said the N18 billion allocated to the commission in the supplementary budget was not all for the conduct of election.

Yakubu gave this clarification when he appeared before the House of Representatives Appropriation committee, chaired by Hon Abubakar Bichi (APC, Kano), to defend the 2023 supplementary.

He said the substantial part of the allocation is for personnel cost, adding that there was no budgetary provisions for the conduct of unforeseen and unbudgeted bye-elections.

He noted that the commission has not attended to the five vacancies in the House and four in State Houses of Assembly.

“So, we have to make provisions for the conduct of by-election in 11 constituencies – five federal constituency, four state constituencies and two senatorial districts and for that we have appropriation for N1.6 billion

“This is in summary of breakdown for the N18 billion for personnel emolument and overhead for augmentation of for the conduct of the three off cycle cycle governorship election and for the conduct of 11 by-election hoping that and praying that there will be no by-election again so that we just confine ourselves to the 11,” Yakubu stated.

On his part, minister of Works, Engr David Umahi, said the N300 billion requested by the ministry in the supplementary budget became necessary to restore some of the funds removed from the 2022 supplementary appropriation.

Umahi said the request for additional funds is to enhance project completion and provide emergency repair works on failed sections of the road in the federal capital.

“The 2023 supplementary budget proposal, the sum of N300 billion is proposed for the Ministry of Works targeted especially to the highway sectors. This is to curate an environment for free flow of traffic on the federal road network to enhance movement especially as yuletide approaches.

“The breakdown of the proposal is as follows. The ongoing projects including the ones removed in 2022 supplementary appropriation is premised to take N197, 276, 594, 011. We have through the motion of the NASS for interventions over a number of emergencies on our roads, we prepared a total intervention on 260 projects totalling N217 billion,” he added.

Umahi also said N18.6 trillion was required to address the road sector in the next four years, just as he urged the National Assembly to take steps towards addressing the problem.

He told the lawmakers that for the executive to respect their motion on certain intervention, it must have a contingency fund.

Also defending his supplementary budget, the minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, said out of N100 billion allocated to the FCT, N3.4 billion is proposed for buying

vehicles for the security agencies as all of them have complained of lack of vehicles and logistics.

“Insecurity has been a problem of FCT before I came on board and so we felt that we should be able to tackle it head-on by providing logistics to various security agencies.

“Of course, there is infrastructure needed which was abandoned before I came. But they need to be completed now that the dry season is coming for example, B6, B12. When I came on board I had to make these contractors like Julius Berger… all of them go back.

“Again, talking about the completion and taking off of the Abuja rail project, you would agree with me that this is one project that Mr President takes so important, and which helped in decongesting our traffic situation.

“As I came on board, Mr President directed the day the Nigerian Bar Association held their conference that he wants to ride on this metro line at least in his one year in office, which is a major if we can achieve it and which we think with your support we are going to achieve it,” Wike said.

In his defence, minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, said the N200 billion allocated to the ministry in the supplementary budget was to, among others, address food insecurity.

Kyari said for the coming rainy season of 2024, N11.7 billion is

earmarked per zone for the six zones of the country for agricultural development.

“Food security is top of the agenda of Mr President. Food security is part of national security and for this reason we had a challenge with Anthrax. We had a disease that has threatened some states and if care is not taken it can wipe out livestock and it can be transferred to humans.

“It is important that it should be taken care of and we also have trans-boundary migratory pests like locusts. So we have budgeted N9.1 billion for that purpose. In addition there is the issue of the strategic food reserve. So an amount of N25.5 billion has been earmarked.

“Also, there is the provision of seeds and seedlings, and other agricultural inputs for each zone of the country to the tune of N11.7 billion per zone. The National Agricultural Growth Scheme earmarked support for this at N25 billion,” he stated.

Earlier, the Appropriation chairman, Bichi explained that the supplementary Appropriation Bill sent to the National Assembly earlier this week was “specifically structured to improve the country’s security, food security and critical road infrastructure sectors, and to bridge the housing deficit in the country, including slum upgrades and urban renewal.

“It will also support the provisional wage to workers and cash transfers to vulnerable Nigerians. It will also cater to the upcoming off-cycle elections in Kogi, Bayelsa and Imo States.

“We have invited the relevant MDAs to defend and shed more light on their submissions. At the end of the hearing, we will collate our analysis in a report and send it back to the House.

“I have divided this into two sections – We will start with the Non-security agencies, and later, we will go into an executive section for the Security Agencies,” he added.