…Villa maintenance of mechanical installations to gulp N4.86bn
By Ayobami Adedinni
Fresh details emerging from the recently presented 2018 budget proposals by President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly has revealed that about N1.119 billion had been voted to be spent by the State House Headquarters on food , fuel, sitting allowance, welfare packages, among others.
President Buhari had last week presented a N8.6 trillion budget for 2018 to foster shaky growth in Africa’s largest economy as it emerges from its first recession in 25 years.
According to the document, about N986,908,651 will be spent on miscellaneous, broken down into refreshment and meals-N135,668,651,honorarium and sitting allowance, N 478,313,996, welfare packages N240,730,180 and sporting activities N30,187,032.
This is even as the annual routine maintenance of mechanical and electrical installations of the villa which is an ongoing project is to gulp N4,860,392,146
Also, a proposed budget of N51,821,169 is to be spent on medical expenses, annual budget expenses and administration- N16,107,232,publicity and advertisements N9.113,357 while N4,728,800 is to be spent on postages and courier services.
A further breakdown of the appropriation bill shows that N132,199,558 will be spent on fuel and lubricants.
Of this amount, N67,950,392 will fund motor vehicle fuel, N45,678,392 for generator fuel while N18,570,614 will be spent on cooking gas fuel.
Buhari had told the National Assembly that the budget was based on an exchange rate of N305 to the Dollar, and a projected oil output of 2.3 million barrels per day at an assumed price of $45 per barrel.
He said he was targeting Jan. 1, 2018 for passage of the new budget and that the deficit is expected to be N2..005 trillion, with real economic growth estimated at 3.5 percent for 2018.
But previous budgets have been beset by wranglings with lawmakers over line items. The 2017 budget was not signed into law until halfway through this year, and even then, some spending was still being debated.
The 2018 budget must still be approved by both chambers of the National Assembly before it can be signed into law, a process that can take many months.