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Buhari, Osinbajo To Spend ₦2.2bn On Travels, Food, Others

President Muhammadu Buhari
President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo are to spend ₦2.2bn on travels and transport, foodstuffs and catering materials, refreshment and meals as well as honorarium and sitting allowances in the 2016 fiscal year.

Details of this spending are contained in the 2016 budget of ₦6.08tn, which the President submitted to a joint session of the National Assembly last week.

An analysis of the document, a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent on Tuesday in Abuja, showed that the total allocation of ₦2.2bn to the President and his deputy was ₦710m higher than what was budgeted for the same purpose under former President Goodluck Jonathan.

According to the budget document, ₦1.415bn was allocated to the President alone for general travels and transport. This amount, when compared to the ₦944.62m that Jonathan got in 2015, was ₦470.38m or 49.7 per cent higher.

A breakdown of the ₦1.415bn allocated for the President’s travels shows that the sum of ₦714.5m is proposed for local travels while ₦701.16m is budgeted for international travels.

Both sums, when compared to the ₦640.34m and ₦304.32m allocated for the same purposes under Jonathan for local and foreign trips, represent an increase of ₦74.16m and ₦396.84m.

For foodstuffs and catering materials, a total sum of ₦114.9m is allocated for Buhari alone, indicating an increase of ₦45.09m or 64.6 per cent over that of Jonathan.

In terms of honorarium and sitting allowances, ₦307.64m was budgeted for the President as against ₦223.24m allocated for the same purpose in 2015.

In the same vein, ₦49.1m has been proposed for the President in the 2016 fiscal period for publicity and advertisement as against ₦29.8m in 2015.

For the office of the Vice-President, the budget document states that ₦48m is proposed for general travels and transport in 2016 as opposed to ₦33.86m in 2015.

In the same vein, the document says ₦13.3m and ₦13.9m are being proposed for international travels and transport (trainings) and international travels and transport (others) for the Vice- President in 2016.

Both amounts, when compared to the sum of ₦9.4m and ₦9.87m, which was allocated for the same purpose in 2015, represents an increase of ₦3.9m and ₦4.03m respectively.

Other amounts allocated for the Vice- President are foodstuffs and catering, ₦16.6m; refreshment and meals, ₦7.5m; honorarium and sitting allowance, ₦8.8m; and publicity and advertisement, ₦23.08m.

These amounts allocated for Osinbajo, when compared to the amount budgeted for former Vice President Namadi Sambo for the same purpose under the 2015 budget, represent an increase of ₦4.84m, ₦2.18m, ₦1.88m and ₦6.79m respectively.

The document also listed other expenditure items for the office of the Vice President to include maintenance service, ₦46.44; consultancy, ₦9.6m; other services, ₦22.3m; fuel and lubricants, ₦24.9m, among others.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, had shortly after assumption of office in November, inaugurated the Efficiency Unit to assist the government cut the cost of governance.

The minister, who said the unit was approved by Buhari to drive down the cost of running government, said no amount of economic policies would deliver the desired results if the manner in which government money was expended was not carefully controlled.

Adeosun lamented that while much had been said about effects of corruption on the economy, little attention was given to the damaging effects of inefficiency and wastages.

She pointed out that a review carried out by the ministry had discovered wide variations in terms of costs between departments and within agencies as there were currently no guidelines on spending

The minister added, “In the few weeks I have spent as the Minister of Finance, it has become clear that without a radical intervention to manage the costs of government, no meaningful improvement in our nation will be forthcoming.

“No amount of fiscal innovation, financial re-engineering or other well intentioned economic policy will deliver the desired results, for as long as the manner in which government money is expended is not carefully controlled.”

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