THE State House Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Ogbile, Tuesday told the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs that N1,305,292,050 billion budgeted for refreshment, meals and other miscellaneous expenses in the 2013 budget was inadequate.
Ogbile was speaking when he appeared before the committee for the defence of the N14,715,566,104 billion budgetary proposal for 2013 fiscal year.
The breakdown of miscellaneous expenses in the presidential budget showed that N203,752,432 was allocated for refreshment and meals, N107,412,768 for honourarium and sitting allowance while N37,277,825 was budgeted for publicity and advertisement.
Others include medical expenses of N50,308,546; postage and courier services to take N10,035,583; welfare package of N195,066,223; subscription to professional bodies, N4,589,793 as well as sporting activities, N32,910,730.
Also on the list is overtime allocation of N250,455,589.
Meanwhile, feeding of animals including animal supplements for the veterinary clinic has N30,584,144 share, summit/extraordinary sessions including the United Nations, African Union and the Economic Community of West African States has N228,112,862 while the National Youth Service Corps, information technology and locum, housemanship and contract staff allowances have N144,788,555.This figure, according to Ogbile is considered not enough.
In his reaction, Senator Isa Galaudu noted that Nigeria’s budget in one year is equivalent to what South Africa spends in five years.
Responding, Ogbile 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 further explained that out of the N1.305 billion, “the Federal Executive Council (FEC) holds every Wednesday and we take care of them through this budget.”
Ogbile listed other expenses that are taken care of in the refreshment and meals vote to include the National Economic Council (NEC), Council of States, conferences in the Banquet Hall, presidential retreats, National Merit Award, Children’s Day and hosting of dignitaries.
Dahiru Awaisu Kuta, however, countered that the Merit Award has its own budget for such ceremony and Ogbile had to proffer another round of explanations.
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