When President Goodluck Jonathan presented the 2013 budget, it was followed by an outrage over the large amount of money allocated to refreshment, meals and other miscellaneous expenses in the State House. Nigerians complained that the money allocated for such expenses was too much and requested that it be cut down.
Evidently, the Presidency did not heed to this outcry. On Wednesday 21st November, 2012, the Presidency asked the Senate to increase the N1, 305, 292, 050 set aside in the 2013 budget for refreshment and meals and other miscellaneous expenses in the State House.
A breakdown of the Miscellaneous sub-head in the Presidential Villa’s budget shows that N203,752,432 was allocated for refreshment and meals; N107,412,768 would be spent on honorarium and sitting allowance while N37, 277,825 will be for publicity and advertisement.
Channels TV reports that the State House Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Ogbile, who appeared before the Senator Dahiru Kuta-led Committee on Federal Character and Inter-Governmental Affairs gave a further breakdown of the 2013 State House budget as thus: Medical expenses (N50,308,546); Postage and courier services (N10,035,583); Welfare packages (N195,066,223); Subscription to professional bodies (N4,589,793); and Sporting activities (N32,910,730).
According to him, Overtime will gulp, N250,455,589; Feeding of animals including animal supplements for the veterinary clinic (N30,584,144); Summit/ Extra ordinary sessions including the UN, African Union, ECOWAS, and so on (N228,112,862); and NYSC, IT, LOCUM, Housemanship and contract staff allowance (N144,788,555).
Mr 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 is not even enough.”
The Permanent Secretary noted that “it is also from the budget of N1.305 billion that we take care of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) which holds every Wednesday.”
What are your thoughts on the extra funds requested by the Presidency for refreshment and meals?