President Muhammadu Buhari will spend N18.1 billion in 2016 to run the State House, Nigeria’s seat of power, an amount that is N11.5 billion more than what his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, spent in 2015.
The amount is also N5.9 billion more than what Mr. Jonathan spent in 2014 on the State House, details of the 2016 budget.
Mr. Buhari will, however, reduce the cost of feeding for the first and second families, when compared to what the Jonathan administration spent in previous years.
Mr. Buhari presented a N6.08 trillion budget to the National Assembly last week, promising more jobs, economic growth and a cut-down on frivolous spending.
But details of the budget show that the State House will cumulatively receive N18.1 billion in 2016.
In 2014, Mr. Jonathan spent N12.2 billion on the State House, while in 2015, the government spent N6.6 billion for the presidential office, amid dwindling revenue occasioned by sliding oil prices.
The costs cover the State House Headquarters, the president’s office and the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
They also cover the budgets of the State House medical centre and the Lagos Liaison office.
One of the most outstanding State House spending in 2016 will be the purchase of BMW saloon cars at N3.63 billion. It is not clear yet what purpose the cars would serve.
The state house budget also contains a repeat of projects the Jonathan administration repeatedly allocated funds for.
An example is the purchase of computers, which has featured in budgets of previous government each year.
In 2016, the State House will spend N27. 5 million on computers, while N268.9 will finance computer software acquisition.
Aso Rock will spend N764.7 million on recreational activities.
The installation of electrical lighting and fittings, which received substantial allocations in 2014 and 2015, will gulp N618.6 million next year.
The budgets are subject to the approval of the National Assembly.
The president however proposed a reduction of the feeding cost for State House in 2016.
If approved by the National Assembly, State House will spend N445.5 million for all meal-related expenses, a reduction from N542.86 million spent by Mr. Jonathan in 2014, and the N526.17 million spent in 2015.
The meal bill includes the cost for the state house headquarters, offices of the president and Vice President Osinbajo.
Details of the proposed budget show that the president would spend N114.97 million on food stuff/catering materials supplies, as against N16.68 million by his deputy during the year.
The vice president would also spend N7.55 million on refreshment & meals, and N2.49 million on cooking gas/fuel costs.
The State House Headquarters will spend N102.94 million on food stuff/catering materials supplies; N104.744 million on refreshment/meals; N89.17 million on purchase of canteen/kitchen equipment and N6.95 million on cooking gas/fuel cost.
Presidential feeding bill became a subject of national attention in 2012 when PREMIUM TIMES showed how Mr. Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo proposed to spend N993 million for refreshments, catering services and purchase of kitchen equipment.
That year, N477million was assigned for foodstuffs and “catering materials supplies” for the president’s office, while an additional N293 million was to provide “refreshment and meals” for the president’s comfort at his home and office.
An extra N45.4 million was earmarked to buy canteen and kitchen equipment for the president’s household, although similar purchases were made the previous year.
That revelation aggravated public anger at the time, and revved up resistance to government’s plan, within the same period, to remove petrol subsidy, and raise the pump price of petrol.
After the publication, the administration reduced the budget by N147 million.
In 2013 and 2014, the government significantly lowered the feeding bill with N717.3 million and N542.8 million spent respectively for each year.