State House Perm. Sec Says N1.3 Bn Feeding Allowance Inadequate–NAN

Posted: November 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

NAN|amebo|burningpot

The Permanent Secretary in the State House, Mr Emmanuel Ogbile, says the N1.3 billion budgeted for refreshment, meals and other miscellaneous expenses in the 2013 budget is inadequate.

Ogbile stated this in Abuja on Tuesday while defending the State House’s 2013 budget estimates before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs.

The total budget estimate for the State House in  2013 is N14.715 billion.

Ogbile explained that out of the N1.3 billion, “the Federal Executive Council (FEC) holds every Wednesday and we take care of them through this budget”.

He said, “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’s not even enough,’’he said.

He listed other expenses that were taken care of in the refreshment and meals vote to include National Economic Council, Council of States, Presidential retreats, National Merit Award, Children’s Day, and hosting of dignitaries.

A breakdown of miscellaneous expenses in the presidential budget showed that N203.7 million was allocated for refreshment and meals, N107,4 million for honorarium and sitting allowance while N37.27 million was budgeted for publicity and advertisement.

Others include medical expenses of N50,3 million; postage and courier services ,N10.03 million, welfare packages N195,06 million; subscription to professional bodies, N4.58million as well as sporting activities, N32.9 million.

Meanwhile, feeding of animals including animal supplements for the veterinary clinic had N30.58 million.

Sen. Isa Galaudu (PDP-Kebbi) noted that Nigeria’s budget in one year was equivalent to what South Africa spent in five years.

Galaudu said that this was unacceptable, adding that efforts should be made to cut down the miscellaneous expenses in the budget.

In an interview with newsmen, Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Dahiru Kuta (PDP-Niger) said that the committee was concerned about the high cost of overheads for the State House.

Kuta said that the committee was working to ensure that the State House cut down its overheads.

 “We are saying that there is still room for improvement, they should do everything possible to cut down their overheads, particularly as it affects feeding and other things.

He, however, cautioned against comparing Nigeria with South Africa, saying that Nigeria’s population was far more than that of South Africa just as the environment was different.

Meanwhile, at the budget defence session of the Senate Committee on Police, the Minister of Police Affairs, retired Navy Capt. Caleb Olubolade, told the committee that the police needed about 600,000 officers to effectively police the country.

Olubolade said that if the force had a staff strength of 600,000, it would translate to one policeman to 266 Nigerians, adding that this was the accepted global standard.

According to him, the staff strength was currently 370,000 officers which translates to one policeman to 432 Nigerians.

Senate President David Mark, who attended the session, noted that there was an urgent need to increase the staff strength of the police.

According to ark, the reason why people are clamouring for state police is because the police force does not have the numerical capacity to protect Nigerians.

“We need to seriously increase the strength of the police because, if increased, the clamour for state police will reduce,’’ he said.

Mark, who also attended the budget defence session of the Senate Committee on Power, decried the low level of implementation of the ministry’s 2012 capital budget.

“From what I have here, your allocation for overheads in 2012 is N541 million and N448 million was released, this shows 80 per cent implementation.

“For the capital component, however, only 28 per cent has been achieved which is relatively low,’’ the Senate President stressed.

Mark lamented that this was unfair since the ordinary Nigeria did not benefit from the overheads but rather the capital projects.

He appealed to the ministry to prioritise projects as this would yield better results, adding that Nigerians were complaining over low implementation of the budget.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that more ministries, departments and agencies are expected to defend their budget estimates on Wednesday.

 

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