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The federal government has earmarked N7.20 billion out of the N21.137 billion proposed as the State House budget for the 2023 fiscal year, for the maintenance of facilities at the Aso Rock presidential villa.

The government also voted N1.96 billion for vehicle purchase, besides N644 million for maintenance of the State House Lagos complex and guesthouses.

Making presentations before the Senate Committee on Federal Character, yesterday, the Permanent Secretary (State House), Tijjani Umar, said the proposals and projections were inadequate.

According to him, the total budget size of N21.137 billion for the State House in 2023 is N19.010 billion less, when compared to the N40.148 billion appropriated in the 2022 fiscal year.

The N7.20 billion, he explained, formed the critical component of the capital expenditure segment of the proposed budget.

He said: “The facilities under this heading include, but are not limited to, electrical/mechanical installations, buildings and infrastructure in the President’s and Vice President’s residences, offices, State House auditorium, Presidential and Ministerial airport chalets etc.

“This commitment usually takes about 65 per cent of the total appropriation of the State House. In order to keep the facilities in optimal working condition, the sum of N7.20 billion has been proposed for the year 2023 against the sum of N7.76 billion in 2022.”

He said with 2023 being an election year, the sum of N1.96 billion earmarked for vehicle purchase is inadequate, just as the provision of N59 million for maintenance of the State House Lagos complex and guesthouses is grossly inadequate.

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South), said the slash in the State House budget for the 2023 fiscal year is not peculiar as other ministries, departments and agencies were also affected.

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