- Presidency Budgets N100m to Purchase Bullet Proof Tyres
The ongoing budget defence in the National Assembly yesterday revealed how in contrast to general beliefs about President Muhammadu Buhari’s perceived frugal lifestyle, the State House has since last year been spending whopping sums of money to purchase printed tyres, otherwise known as bullet proof tyres.
Against this backdrop, the Presidency has planned to spend about N100 million for the purchase of same tyres as contained in 2017 budget.
The disclosure which appeared to be coming to public knowledge for the first time, was shocking to some watchers at the meeting who wondered why presidency officials should be using bullet proof tyres in the face of biting economic recession.
Making the disclosure while defending the 2017 budget of the State House before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs, Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal Arabi, said the N100 million budgeted for printed tyres this year was only 50 per cent lower than what was budgeted in 2016.
“Another area of interest Mr. chairman, distinguished senators is the purchase of tyres, a total sum of N94.5 million is proposed for 2017, representing 50 percent of actual sought for the 2016. This will hope will address the shortfalls and complement the requirements of this sector which are mostly printed tyres procured at exorbitant prices. Mr. chairman, some of the tyres being purchased are bulletproof and hence, constitute the bulk of the budget cost.
“Let me re-emphasise Mr. chairman that the state house has been consistent and indeed conservative in the budget estimates as we are always mindful of our current challenges in the areas of revenue generation over the years,” he said.
Jalabi, who however, disclosed that only paltry sums of the total budget for 2016 was released, said the State House only got N46 million capital release throughout the year adding that of N2.4 billion budgeted for State House Clinic in 2016, only 800 million, representing 30 per cent of the budget was released.
He said the poor releases had resulted in various hiccups and debt accumulation in the Presidential Villa including huge indebtedness to electricity providers. According to him, N319.6 million has been budgeted in 2017 to upset electricity bills owed by the Villa.
“A sum of N45.3 million only was approved in the 2016 budget for this purpose. Suffice it to inform that the State House electricity bill for 2016 alone as forwarded by Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) for state House Abuja was N252 milliom with another outstanding liabilities of over N300 million for state House, Lagos facilities.
“Clearly the provision in the 2016 budget could not accommodate this. It may interest Committee to note in 2016, it took the management of the State House the installation of meters to ensure proper billing and that was what reduced the bill to a reasonable figure. However, since these bills are currently subject ofreconciliations, we have made a modest provision for sum of N319.6 million for 2017 to settle current and part of outstanding bills,” he said.
He also disclosed that the Villa owed an accumulated bill of N52.8 million sewage charges.
“There is a proposal for the sum of N52.8 million in the 2017 budget. The Committee may wish to be informed that the bills received from Abuja Environment Protection Board (AEPB) for liquid waste disposal for the state House for 2016 is in figure sum of N15.6 million with outstanding liabilities of previous years standing at N37.5 million (totaling N52.8m).
This figure has remained consistent over the years.
“This informed the provision of the same figure amount in the sum of N52.8 million in 2017. This position was the same sought for in our 2016 proposal but only paltry sum of N6.1 million was appropriated. We have however, commenced negotiation with AEPB in order to arrive at a mutually acceptable charges henceforth,” he added.
The situation however, irritated the committee which said it was unfortunate that the State House which it described as the symbol of the nation’s sovereignty and authority could be brought into such disrepute by owing sewage and electricity bills.
Ekiti Governor Unveils Multi-Billion Naira Relief Programmes Amid Economic Crisis
Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji, has announced a comprehensive relief package aimed at alleviating the hardship faced by the people of the state.
The relief programs encompass various sectors to cushion the impact of the economic downturn.
One of the key initiatives entails clearing salary arrears amounting to over N2.7 billion owed to both State and Local Government workers.
This move signifies the government’s commitment to addressing the financial burdens faced by its workforce.
Furthermore, Governor Oyebanji has approved a substantial increase of N600 million per month in the subvention of autonomous institutions, including the Judiciary and tertiary institutions.
This augmentation is intended to enable these institutions to implement wage awards in alignment with State and Local Government workers’ salaries.
In addition to addressing salary arrears, the relief programs extend to pensioners, with the approval of payments totaling N1.5 billion for two months’ pension arrears.
Moreover, an increase in the monthly gratuity payment to state pensioners and local government pensioners will provide additional financial support, totaling N200 million monthly.
The relief initiatives also encompass agricultural and small-scale business sectors.
The allocation of funds for food production and livestock transformation projects underscores the government’s commitment to enhancing food security and economic sustainability at the grassroots level.
Governor Oyebanji emphasized that these relief programs are part of the state’s concerted efforts to mitigate the adverse effects of the economic downturn and foster shared prosperity.
The comprehensive nature of the initiatives reflects a proactive approach towards addressing the challenges faced by Ekiti State residents.
President Tinubu Orders Immediate Settlement of N342m Electricity Bill for Presidential Villa
President Bola Tinubu has directed the prompt settlement of a N342 million outstanding electricity bill owed by the Presidential Villa to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC).
This move comes in response to the reconciliation of accounts between the State House Management and the AEDC.
The AEDC had earlier threatened to disconnect electricity services to the Presidential Villa and 86 Federal Government Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) over a total outstanding debt of N47.20 billion as of December 2023.
Contrary to the initial claim by the AEDC that the State House owed N923 million in electricity bills, the Presidency clarified that the actual outstanding amount is N342.35 million.
This discrepancy underscores the importance of accurate accounting and reconciliation between entities.
In a statement signed by President Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, the Presidency affirmed the commitment to settle the debt promptly.
Chief of Staff Femi Gbajabiamila assured that the debt would be paid to the AEDC before the end of the week.
The directive from the Presidency extends beyond the State House, as Gbajabiamila urged other MDAs to reconcile their accounts with the AEDC and settle their outstanding electricity bills.
The AEDC, on its part, issued a 10-day notice to the affected government agencies to settle their debts or face disconnection.
This development highlights the importance of financial accountability and responsible management of public utilities.
It also underscores the necessity for government entities to fulfill their financial obligations to service providers promptly, ensuring uninterrupted services and avoiding potential disruptions.
Abuja Electricity Distribution Company Issues Ultimatum to 86 Government Agencies Over N47bn Debt
The Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) has issued an ultimatum to 86 government agencies, including the Presidential Villa, owing a collective debt of N47 billion.
The notice comes as a response to the prolonged failure of these agencies to settle their outstanding electricity bills.
According to the public notice released by the AEDC management, some of the highest debts are attributed to prominent entities such as the National Security Adviser (owing N95.9 billion), the Chief of Defence staff barracks, and military formations (indebted to the tune of N12 billion).
Also, several ministries, including the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory and the Ministry of Power, have sizable outstanding bills.
The AEDC has expressed its frustration over the inability of these government bodies to honor their financial obligations despite previous attempts to facilitate payment.
In response, the company has warned of imminent disconnection of services if the outstanding debts are not settled within 10 days of the notice.
The outstanding debts are attributed to various factors including the devaluation of the naira, cash scarcity resulting from demonetization programs, high inflation rates, removal of fuel subsidies, and foreign exchange challenges.
These financial burdens have adversely impacted the operations of the AEDC, contributing to a loss of N99 million in foreign exchange alone.
As the deadline for payment approaches, government agencies are under pressure to address their outstanding debts to avoid service disruptions.
The AEDC remains steadfast in its commitment to ensuring that all entities fulfill their financial obligations, underscoring the importance of prompt payment for uninterrupted electricity services.
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