Buhari okays presidential wing for State House clinic
• Laments non-release of budgetary allocation
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a site for the construction of a VIP wing of the State House clinic to be located within the precincts of Aso Villa.
The state-of-the-art clinic, which will serve all Nigerians, is expected to be completed in the next two years before the end of the Buhari-led administration.
The Senate Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs has already visited the site to ascertain how well the budgetary allocation to the State House has been utilised.
This came as the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijani Umar, lamented the non-release of full budgetary allocation to the Villa, saying some of the facilities at the seat of power have become obsolete.
Umar noted that of the about N8,699 billion budgeted for the State House in the 2018 fiscal year, only N5,083 billion, about 58 per cent was released, leaving an outstanding balance of about N3,616 billion.
Umar told the Committee that in 2019, out of N6,955 billion budgeted, only N2 billion (about 38 per cent) of the total sum was released, leaving an outstanding balance of about N4 billion. In 2020, however, N4,878 billion was appropriated and fully released.
Fielding questions from reporters, the Permanent Secretary noted that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affected the economy.
On how the management was coping with funding challenges, he said: “I want to use the opportunity to distinguish very clearly between appropriation and release. In 2018, about N8 billion was appropriated, out of which only about N5 billion was released. Definitely, looking at the enormity of the challenges that we are dealing with from day to day, that is affecting our performance.
“However, we are in a tradition of prudence and we also have not lost sight of the challenges that we have internationally, especially with COVID-19 concerning how much money the country, in its entirety, makes.”
He said further: “I would like to say that the State House needs quite a formidable level of support and improvement in funding, especially because we are dealing with phasing out a lot of infrastructure that have come to the end of their lifespan.
“We have the issue of our ICT infrastructure. We have the issue of equipment in the Conference Centre, kitchen equipment. We have the issue of telecommunications and operational and utility vehicles that are gradually coming to the tail end of their lives and we need to replace them.
“But majorly, I think the biggest intervention we require is building and construction of the Presidential wing of the State House clinic, which is of strategic national importance and is being done in the form of a legacy project.”
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