Buhari to repair State House buildings with N4.5bn

•Stops ministers from foreign trips over budget defence

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has a plan to spend N4.5 billion to repair State House buildings in 2020.

The Federal Government intends to spend a total of N58,446,014,724 in the presidency during the year, according to details of the Appropriation Bill he presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday.

A perusal of the document showed that of the amount, rehabilitation and repairs of State House office buildings alone will gulp N4.451 billion.

Rehabilitation and repair of residential buildings will cost N69,693,262, while a curious sub-head noted that rehabilitation and repairs of “housing” will take N10,575,702.

Chefs in the Presidential Villa will also in 2020 prepare food for the first family and their guests with cooking gas worth N18.5 million.

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Fuel for generator has a vote of N45,678,552; refreshment and meals will cost N135,668,651, and welfare packages N240,730,180.

The president will also spend N91.6 million to purchase bullet-proof tyres for the many bullet-proof vehicles and plain vehicles in the fleet.

Further scrutiny of the document revealed that the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will spend 43.6 per cent of the N9.4 trillion Federal Government’s main budget for the year.

The ministry will spend N4.1 trillion or 43.6 per cent of the MDAs vote made up of N748,602,309,977 for personnel; N3,063,398,998,775 for overhead; N3,812,001,308,752 for recurrent and N362,791,562,425 for capital expenditure.

The Debt Management Office (DMO) got an allocation of N2.749 trillion while N1.4 trillion was allocated to Service Wide Votes.

Other big spenders include the Ministry of Defence with an allocation of N878.4 billion; Interior, N254.8 billion; National Assembly, N125 billion; Police Affairs, N409.1 billion; National Security Adviser, N138.4 billion and the Ministry of Transportation, N135.6 billion.

Others are the Ministry of Power, N133.4 billion; Ministry of Works and Housing, N287.1 billion; judiciary, N110 billion;  Ministry of Youth and Sports Development, N171.0 billion; Ministry of Niger Delta, N106.7 billion; Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, N444.2 billion; Ministry of Education, N652 billion; Ministry of Health, N427.2 billion and Aso Rock, N58.4 billion.

Meanwhile, the president has directed the immediate suspension of international travels by all cabinet members and heads of government agencies so as to enable ministers personally lead the process of budget defence at the National Assembly.

The travel embargo is coming on the heels of the presentation of the 2020 Appropriation Bill by President Buhari to the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, conveyed this directive in a statement signed by the Director of Information in his office and made availabile to newsmen on Friday in Abuja.

The SGF explained that the suspension of such travels would enable functionaries and agencies of the executive arm to provide the required cooperation with the legislature in order to ensure timely passage of the Appropriation Bill.

In the last few years, both the executive and National Assembly had engaged in blame game over delay in the passage of the national budget.

While the National Assembly had blamed the executive for late presentation of Appropriation Bills and in some cases, unavailability of ministers and heads of agencies during budget defence, the executive accused the National Assembly of deliberately delaying the passage of the Appropriation Bills.

But the SGF, in the statement, said: “Ministers who have already secured approval to travel are by this directive required to revalidate such approvals with Mr President after confirming the schedule of appearances with the relevant committees of the National Assembly.

“Furthermore, all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have been directed to liaise with the relevant committees of the National Assembly for their schedules of budget defence,” Mustapha said.

The presidency and the National Assembly had expressed commitment to returning the budget circle to January/December so as to correct the current haphazard arrangement.

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