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FG to Spend N4.8bn on Villa Maintenance in 2018

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aso rock state house
  • FG to Spend N4.8bn on Villa Maintenance in 2018

The Federal Government is proposing to spend N4.86bn in the 2018 fiscal year on maintenance of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The budgeted amount for next year when compared to the N4.95bn allocated for annual routine maintenance of villa facilities in the 2017 budget represents a decline of about N90m.

In the 2016 budget, the sum of N3.91bn was allocated for annual routine maintenance of the Presidential Villa by the Federal Government.

The N4.86bn amount for this year is part of the N11.54bn total allocation made for the state house headquarters in the proposed 2018 budget.

The State House has a total capital allocation of N7.1bn while recurrent expenditure was estimated at N4.43bn

In 2017, the state house had a budget of N11.02bm made up of N6.52bn for capital project while recurrent expenditure was estimated at N4.49bn.

The 2018 budget was submitted last Tuesday to a joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.

It has a total allocation of N8.61tn made up of N3.49tn for recurrent, N2.43tn for capital while debt servicing and statutory transfers among others are to gulp the sum of N2.01tn and N456bn respectively.

A breakdown of the state house budget shows that apart from the N4.86bn for annual maintenance, there are outstanding liabilities of N565.65m for routine maintenance for 2016.

In the same vein, the sum of N907.1m was budgeted for phased replacement of vehicles, spares and tyres in the presidential security/police escort, while N284.58m was allocated for renovation work at state house security quarters.

The budget proposal also has a provision of N93.6m for electronic document management system, N17.74m for upgrade of state house library, N28.9m for upgrade of villa ranch and construction of wildlife conservation and N83.7m for purchase of tyres for bulletproof vehicles, ambulances and other utilities and operational vehicles.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma, had on Tuesday during the public presentation of the 2018 budget, said the government would continue to spend more on ongoing infrastructure projects that had potential for job creation and inclusive growth.

He said the Federal Government would continue to leverage private capital and counterpart funding for the delivery of infrastructure projects.

The minister said for 2018 capital projects, the government would carry out huge projects in transportation, power, works, housing, health, water resources, agriculture and rural development, mines and steel development, industry , trade and investment, and education.

For instance, he said N35.4bn had been provided for Federal Government National Housing Programme, N10bn for second Niger Bridge, N294bn for construction and rehabilitation of major roads nationwide, N8.9bn for procurements of vaccines, over N50bn for water supply, rehabilitation of dams and irrigation projects nationwide.

He added that N25.1bn had been earmarked for promotion and development of value chains across 30 different commodities, N4bn for agri-business and market development, N46.3bn for special economic zone projects across the geopolitical zones to drive manufacturing and exports and N19.28bn in form of tax credits to support export through Export Expansion Grant, among others.

Budget unacceptable, a misnomer- CACOL, Junaid, others

However, a civil-society organisation, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, condemned the budget for Aso Rock Villa, saying it was “unacceptable and a misnomer.”

The CACOL Director, Debo Adeniran, said, “Several items in the Aso Rock Villa budget are repeated annually and no changes are carried out. You are still going to have budget for kitchen utensils, furniture and others. This is the problem of our budget and the reason why the government has gone ahead with such bogus amounts is because there is no accountability, probity and transparency. If people can raise questions, we can force the amounts down.

“Basically, it is a misnomer and an administration preaching change must not allow such bloated budget. We have just heard about the Aso Rock clinic fraud which was brought to light by even the wife of the President.”

Also, a Second Republic lawmaker, Dr Junaid Muhammed, described as unacceptable the budgeted amount for the installations, noting that the budget needed to be scrutinised.

Muhammed said, “I share the concerns of many Nigerians that many items in the 2018 are bloated and unacceptable. If only we will take time to scrutinise the budget, we will find many of such unnecessary items such as the one in focus.

“That the cost of the maintenance of the installations at the villa, put at N4.86billion is more than the installations themselves is laughable and shows that the present government is not being sincere with itself. Such is very unacceptable.”

It is unnecessary, says CIFCN registrar

Commenting on the allocation for maintenance of the villa, the Registrar, Chartered Institute of Finance and Control of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Eohoi, said the huge allocation was unnecessary at a time when Nigerians were experiencing economic hardship.

He said, “That kind of huge allocation for maintenance of the presidential villa is an expenditure that should not be encouraged at a time when the government is involved in huge borrowing to finance its operations and when a majority of Nigerians are suffering the biting economic hardship.

“The government should set its priorities right by ensuring that many of the bad roads are fixed. Why budget such huge amount of money for maintenance of the Villa when many people don’t even have food to eat?

“That amount that was budgeted for maintenance should have been reduced drastically to free up funds for other infrastructure projects.”

The office of President Muhammadu Buhari was repaired after the President came back from 81 days’ medical trip in London, the United Kingdom on August 19.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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President Tinubu to Inaugurate Newly Paved Roads to Apapa, Tin Can Ports

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Bola Tinubu

President Bola Tinubu is set to inaugurate the newly constructed paved roads leading to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports in Lagos on Saturday.

This development is anticipated to bring significant relief to port users and operators who have endured years of hardship due to the previously dilapidated roads and severe traffic congestion in the area.

The commissioning of these roads marks a major milestone in the government’s efforts to improve infrastructure and boost economic activities around the nation’s busiest ports.

The newly paved roads are expected to enhance the flow of goods and services, reduce operational costs for businesses, and alleviate the chronic traffic bottlenecks that have plagued the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas.

President Tinubu, who is scheduled to arrive in Lagos on Saturday morning, will perform the inauguration as his first assignment of the day.

The ceremony signifies a commitment to addressing the infrastructural challenges that have long hindered the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime sector.

Mohammed Koko, the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), highlighted the importance of this project earlier this year.

He emphasized the NPA’s “zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to the free flow of traffic” and reiterated the agency’s dedication to improving port operations.

“Our zero tolerance for all forms of impediments to free flow of traffic is no fluke,” Koko said, noting that the rehabilitation efforts are aimed at consolidating gains achieved first in Apapa and now extending to Tin Can.

In January 2024, President Tinubu directed the Federal Ministry of Works to urgently and comprehensively repair the access roads to the Lagos Port Complex and Tin-Can Island Port Complex.

The Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Adegboyega Oyetola, echoed the urgency of this directive, pointing out that the poor condition of the port access roads had significantly increased internal logistics costs for importers and exporters.

“The dilapidated port access roads increase the cost of internal logistics for importers and exporters,” Oyetola noted.

The improved road infrastructure is expected to curb the exodus of businesses from the Apapa and Tin Can Island areas, which had been driven away by the severe logistical challenges.

The restoration of these critical routes is also anticipated to enhance Nigeria’s competitiveness in international trade by facilitating smoother and more efficient port operations.

Following the inauguration of the port access roads, President Tinubu is also scheduled to flag off the Lagos to Calabar coastal road project at Victoria Island in Lagos.

Also, he will virtually inaugurate the newly rehabilitated 3rd Mainland Bridge, further underscoring his administration’s commitment to revitalizing Nigeria’s infrastructure.

The series of inaugurations and project launches underscore a broader strategy to enhance connectivity, reduce operational bottlenecks, and stimulate economic growth through improved infrastructure.

The completion of the Apapa and Tin Can Island port roads is a pivotal step in this direction, promising a new era of efficiency and productivity for Nigeria’s maritime sector.

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Iran Set for Presidential Elections on June 28 Following Raisi’s Tragic Death

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Ebrahim Raisi

The political landscape in Iran was abruptly reshaped following the untimely demise of President Ebrahim Raisi in a helicopter crash over the weekend.

Now, the nation is poised for a significant transition with presidential elections scheduled for June 28 as reported by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.

Vice President Mohammad Mokhber will assume the role of president in the interim, in accordance with the constitution of the Islamic Republic.

This unexpected development comes in the wake of a tragic accident that claimed the lives of Raisi and eight others, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, in north-western Iran.

The government attributed the crash to adverse weather conditions and dense fog in the mountainous region.

As Iran prepares for the upcoming elections, candidates will have the opportunity to register starting May 30.

However, prospective candidates will undergo thorough vetting by the Guardian Council, a body comprising 12 clerics and jurists responsible for administering elections.

The council’s scrutiny is anticipated to be particularly stringent, given the unexpected vacancy in the presidency and the significance of the upcoming transition.

While Vice President Mokhber has assumed leadership in the interim period, it remains uncertain whether he will contest the presidential elections himself.

Speculation abounds as to who will emerge as the frontrunner in the electoral race, with many analysts suggesting that the clerical establishment and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may prefer a candidate aligned with Raisi’s ultraconservative stance, characterized by deep-seated distrust of the United States and Israel.

Raisi’s tenure as president was marked by polarizing policies and events.

His association with mass arrests and executions following violent protests in 2022, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini while in custody for allegedly violating Iran’s dress code, stirred controversy both domestically and internationally.

As such, his passing has not only left a void in Iran’s leadership but has also raised questions about the future trajectory of the nation’s politics.

With the presidential elections fast approaching, Iran finds itself at a critical juncture, grappling with the aftermath of a tragic loss while navigating the complexities of its political landscape.

As the nation mourns the passing of President Raisi, all eyes are now on the forthcoming electoral process, which is poised to shape Iran’s future in the post-Raisi era.

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Iran Mourns: Helicopter Crash Claims Lives of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian

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Ebrahim Raisi

A tragic helicopter crash has claimed the lives of President Ebrahim Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, sending shockwaves across the nation and plunging the country into mourning.

The fatal incident occurred in Iran’s East Azerbaijan province, where the helicopter carrying the two senior officials and several other passengers crashed, resulting in the loss of all on board.

The crash site, now a scene of charred wreckage, stands as a somber reminder of the untimely demise of these key figures in Iranian politics.

President Raisi, who assumed office in August 2021, was widely regarded for his commitment to serving the Iranian people and advancing the nation’s interests on the global stage.

His tenure as president was marked by efforts to strengthen Iran’s position in regional affairs and enhance diplomatic relations with neighboring countries.

Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian played a pivotal role in shaping Iran’s foreign policy, particularly in fostering closer ties with neighboring nations in the Middle East, including Arab countries across the Gulf.

His diplomatic acumen and dedication to advancing Iran’s interests earned him respect both domestically and internationally.

The news of their tragic deaths has elicited an outpouring of grief and condolences from leaders and citizens alike, both within Iran and abroad.

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim expressed his deep sadness over the loss, highlighting President Raisi’s commitment to justice, peace, and the upliftment of the Muslim world.

Similarly, the European Union extended its sincere condolences to the families of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian, acknowledging the profound impact of their untimely passing on the Iranian nation.

The helicopter crash not only robbed Iran of two of its most prominent leaders but also left a void in the country’s political landscape.

As the nation grapples with this immense loss, tributes pour in from all corners, commemorating the contributions of President Raisi and Foreign Minister Amirabdollahian to the advancement of Iran’s interests and the well-being of its people.

The legacy of these esteemed leaders will endure in the hearts and minds of Iranians, serving as a guiding light for future generations as they navigate the complexities of governance and diplomacy in an ever-changing world.

Iran mourns the loss of two of its finest sons, whose dedication and service will be remembered for years to come.

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