National AssemblyThe Federal Government yesterday gave indications that it has reviewed downwards the budgetary provision for the State House in the 2017 fiscal year. Permanent Secretary in the State House Mr. Jalal Arabi, who gave this indication yesterday, explained that government has re-prioritised projects in its medical centre and suspended most of its capital expenditure proposals for 2017.
Specifically, Arabi said the budget for the State House had been reviewed downward from N16.567 billion to N13.567 billion in the 2017 appropriation bill being debated by the National Assembly.
The permanent secretary disclosed this when members of the House Committee on Special Duties led by Nasir Daura, made an oversight visit to the State House.
According to him, while the State House headquarters, State House medical centre and State House Lagos liaison office received releases, no release was made for the office of the Chief of Staff and that of the Chief Security Officer to the President. Both releases were still pending.
Arabi also said the 2017 budget has become less ambitious than the 2016 appropriation adding that personnel, overhead and capital costs were minimally reviewed upwards.
“The state house estimates were all based on existing projects that are classified as ongoing and that are simply rolled over from the 2016 appropriation and so, have the potential of being reduced in case additional releases are made for the projects before the end of the extended implementation period (March 2017). There is therefore no newly conceived project for the 2017,” he explained.
According to him, “we have equally re-prioritised the State House Medical Centre projects, which were undergoing a review, hence the suspension of all the capital expenditure proposals for now. We shall however take advantage of the supplementary budget widow when necessary.”He told the lawmakers that that it had received a total of N5.19 billion as capital release from its approved 2016 budget.
This, he said represents 47.5 per cent of the N10.94 billion of the presidency’s capital budget for the year, thus leaving a balance of N5.74 billion (52.5 per cent) yet to be released.
Arabi further said that of the amount released, N4.8 billion (93.1 per cent) has so far been expended on the capital projects for which the funds were appropriated.
He further disclosed that all allocations for the 2016 recurrent expenditure have been received up to December, while the capital releases were made for three out of five subheads in the State House budget.
Chairman of the committee said the House of Reps panel was in the villa to determine the level of implementation of the 2016 budget as well as on a fact-finding mission to inspect completed and ongoing projects at the State House.
According to him, this will help the correct the lack of adequate information or outright misinformation about State House, as well as to curb corruption and ensure that the country comes out of recession.