In an unexpected twist, the presidency has described as “grossly insufficient” the sum of N1,305,292,050 budgeted to cover the cost of its meals, refreshment and other miscellaneous expenses in 2013.
Emmanuel Ogbile, who is the State House Permanent Secretary, said on Tuesday that the amount was not enough to cover the 2013 fiscal year.
Ogbile made this known when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs to defend the N14,715,566,104 budget for next year.
This amount, Ogbile said, was not enough, in response to an observation by a member of the committee, Senator Isa Galaudu, that Nigeria’s budget in one year is what South Africa spends in five years.
“I have taken pains to explain that this money is not just to fund the residence of the President and that of the Vice President…the experience I have had is that this fund is grossly insufficient. It is not even enough”, he said
Out of the N1.305 billion budgeted, he said, “The Federal Executive Council (FEC) holds every Wednesday and we take care of them through this budget.”
He went further to list some other expenses that were taken care of in the refreshment and meals vote to include National Economic Council (NEC), Council of States, conferences in the Banquet Hall, presidential retreats, National Merit Award, Children’s Day and hosting of dignitaries.
But the committee chairman, Senator Dahiru Awaisu Kuta, would have none of it as he said the merit award had its own budget for such ceremony and Ogbile had to proffer another round of explanations.
A breakdown of the miscellaneous sub-head in the budget for Aso Rock reflected that N203,752,432 was allocated for refreshment and meals; N107,412,768 would take care of honorarium and sitting allowance while publicity and advertisement would gulp N37277,825.
Other details included medical expenses (N50,308,546); postage and courier services (N10,035,583); welfare packages (N195,066,223); subscription to professional bodies (N4,589,793); and sporting activities (N32,910,730).
The list also included overtime (N250,455,589); feeding of animals, including animal supplements for the veterinary clinic (N30,584,144); Summit/Extra ordinary sessions, including the UN, African Union, ECOWAS, etc (N228,112,862); and NYSC, IT, LOCUM, housemanship and contract staff allowance (N144,788,555).