FG to Spend N3.9bn on Aso Rock Maintenance

It has been revealed that the Appropriation Act 2016, otherwise
called the 2016 budget, recently signed into law by President Muhammadu
Buhari, contains a vote of N3.914bn for the maintenance of the
Presidential Villa in Abuja for this year alone.

Punch
reports that the amount is quite distinct from another allocation of
N282.962m set aside for the “General Maintenance Services of State House
(Headquarters)” and the N41.844m budgeted for “General Maintenance
Services of State House Operations (Vice President).”

The N3.914bn maintenance fee for the presidential villa will be paid
to popular construction firm, Julius Berger Plc, saddled with the
responsibility of maintaining the seat of power and is tagged “Annual
Routine Maintenance of Villa Facilities.”

According to Punch newspaper, the “State House Operations (President)
got a total allocation of N1.698bn in the budget while State House
Operations (Vice-President) got a total allocation of N289.617bn.”

A breakdown of the N282.962m allocated to the “General Maintenance
Services of State House (Headquarters)” shows that N182.079m will be
spent on maintenance of motor vehicles/transport equipment; N11.545m for
the maintenance of office furniture; N27.846m for the maintenance of
office/Information Technology equipment; N13.620m for the maintenance of
plants/generators and N47.870m for “other maintenance services.”

The breakdown of the N41.844m budgeted for “General Maintenance
Services of State House Operations (Vice President)” similarly shows
that N27.139m is for the maintenance of motor vehicles/transport
equipment; N1.451m for the maintenance of office furniture; N4.422m for
the maintenance of plants/generator; and N8.832m for “other maintenance
services.”

Under the heading “Materials and Supplies”, the princely sum
N103.470m is budgeted for foodstuff/catering materials supplies;
N321.070m for miscellaneous; N276.879m for honorarium and sitting
allowance; while N44.190m is allocated to publicity and advertisement.

For an administration that was elected on the premise of change and
which had at least two opportunities to amend the budget during the
protracted crisis, many may find it disappointing that such heavy sums
were still allocated to basic issues more so at a time when the
government claims it is short of funding.

Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will be representing President Buhari in Lagos for a scheduled state visit.

A terse statement
released by Mr Laolu Akande, senior special assistant on media and
publicity, in the office of the vice president, merely stated that “on
behalf of the President, Prof Osinbajo would commission a number of
projects in the state as part of the visit.”

No clear reasons have been established for the president’s failure to personally be in Lagos but The Nation
reports that senior special assistant to the president on media and
publicity Garba Shehu said the president “has scheduling difficulties.”

Some of the projects to be inaugurated include the Lagos State
Emergency Management Agency Rescue Unit in Cappa, Oshodi; the newly
constructed Ago Palace Way in Okota, Isolo and the inauguration of
security equipment and vehicles donated by the Ambode administration
among others.

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