by Isi Esene
According to the proposed budget 2013 submitted to the National Assembly by the executive arm of government, the welfare package of the three principal functionaries of the executive namely the president, vice president, and secretary to the government of the Federation (SGF) will gulp a total of N1.59bn.
The SGF office will spend the greater share of the package amounting to N1.07bn. The President’s office will spend N355.9mn, while the VP’s office will spend N160.83mn.
It is, however, not clear what this provision in the budget entails. Analysts wonder if the welfare package translates to miscellaneous expenses such as transportation of visitors to government officials.
According to reports, the budget reveals that the president, Goodluck Jonathan and vice president, Namadi Sambo will expend precisely N990.24m for feeding as shown in the budget proposal.
The breakdown on the cost of feeding in the Presidency shows that Jonathan will spend N406,738,969 on foodstuff and catering materials next year.
Cooking gas for the presidency will cost N13,420,750, while the refreshment and meals in the State House will cost the nation N327,154,931. Similar expenses will be made in the VP’s office.
Foodstuff and catering materials for the VP will cost the nation N112,500,000 in 2013, while the gas for cooking the food will cost N7,020,750. Refreshment and meals will cost N123,402,499 for the VP’s office in 2013.
These expenditure items bring the total cost for feeding in the Presidential Villa to N990.24m for the 2013 fiscal year.
During the presentation of the budget proposals to the National Assembly in Abuja on Wednesday, Jonathan assured the nation that the Federal Government would do all within its powers to save cost due to dwindling resources.
The president said, “The uncertainty surrounding the global economy, which could have adverse effects on commodity prices, highlights the downside risks for our economy. The oil market is well known for its volatility. We recall the 2008 experience at the height of the global economic downturn when oil prices fell almost overnight from $147 per barrel to $38 per barrel.
“This threat of oil price volatility remains constant and underscores the need to rely on a robust and prudent methodology to estimate the benchmark price. The global economic slowdown can also have far-reaching implications for the demand for our export commodities, given that the Euro zone and the United States of America account for over 50 per cent of the nation’s crude oil exports.
“In spite of these, our economy has done relatively well. Over the past nine months, through a number of initiatives, we have created new jobs directly and supported many young entrepreneurs running SMEs to create jobs.”
If history is used to predict the future, this budget is a done deal.