The Permanent Secretary in the Presidency, the State House, Tijjani Umar, has attributed the reduction in the budgetary projection for the 2023 to the expected retirement of 40 staff.
Defending the State House 2023 budget proposal of N21.1 Billion before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs, Tijjani Umar explained that “there is a marginal decrease in the personnel cost due to the anticipated retirement of 40 staff in 2023.”
According to him, the recurrent expenditure levels in the various cost centres have been maintained except for marginal increases in the Office of the President, Vice President and the Chief of Staff to the President.
On capital expenditure for 2023, the Permanent Secretary explained that the major areas of expenditure in the State House under capital appropriation include the annual routine maintenance of the facilities in the Presidential Villa, Abuja and the State House Complex, Lagos; the purchase of operational motor vehicles, State House Clinic and the proposed National Centre for Coordination for Early Warning and Response Mechanism (NCCRM) in the office of the Vice President for Strategic Preparedness and Resilience (OSPRE) .
He said that the facilities in Abuja and Lagos buildings and infrastructure in the President’s and Vice President’s residences, Offices, State House Auditorium, State House Gymnasium, Presidential Banquet Hall, Council Chamber, State House Conference Centre, Presidential and Ministerial Airport Chalets and Airport Lounge in Abuja as well as State House, Dodan Barracks Complex in Lagos.
Tijjani Umar said that commitment to these facilities take 65 per cent of the total appropriation, adding that in order to keep them in optimal working condition, the sum of N7.20 billion has been proposed for year 2023 as against N7.76 billion in 2022.
“Closely following this, is the dire and urgent need for the complete replacement and upgrading of the communication/telephony system and electronic visitors record management in the Presidential Villa.”
He said that N150 million has been proposed for the completion of the telecommunications infrastructure in 2023.
He said that the facilities and buildings in the Lagos Liaison Office Complex and Guest the Houses are old and require not only maintenance, but renovation and renewal.
The Permanent Secretary expressed concern that the provision of N59 million for maintenance of State House Lagos Complex and Guest Houses is inadequate, saying that an estimated sum of N644 million would be required to upgrade the facilities.
On the purchase of operational motor vehicles and following discussions with the Budget Office of the Federation, the Permanent Secretary said that N1.96 billion has been proposed under the phased replacement of vehicles in the Presidential Ground Fleet and those in the Conference Coordination Unit (CCU).
“It is noteworthy that most of the vehicles being proposed for replacement were procured more than 10 years ago and have since exceeded their useful economic lives.
“This has resulted in frequent breakdowns and an unsustainable expenditure on repairs/replacements of parts.”
He said that the released amount of N800 million was inadequate to procure the required numbers that need to be replaced partly because some of the vehicles are treated and very expensive.
On State House Clinic, Umar thanked the Committee members for their support in getting the Presidential/VIP Wing of State House Clinic off the ground, expressing delight that the project which was flagged off on November 1, 2021 is at an advanced stage of completion.
“This level of progress was attained given the full support of Mr President and the assistance of key stakeholders especially this distinguished Committee which has appropriated funds needed with the backing of and support of the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.”
He said that the project, which is 80 percent completed, would be delivered by the end of December, 2022 or latest during the 1st quarter of 2023.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Abba Moro, said: “I am not unmindful that the State House is the hub of the government and everything radiates from there. We would do the needful and if there is a need for us to see you again, we will invite you. But so far with what has been discussed and presented to us, we will be able to do the needful to the satisfaction of all.”