By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
The Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar has defended the 2023 budget proposal of N21.3 billion before the House of Representatives Committee on Special Duties, headed by Hon. Suleiman Samaila.
The Permanent Secretary, who was accompanied by top management staff of the State House to the Nation Assembly on Tuesday in Abuja, said the 2023 Budget proposal seeks to consolidate the achievements recorded in the implementation of the 2022 Appropriation.
It would be recalled that on November 3, 2022, Umar had defended the budget before the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs.
Appearing before the House of Reps Committee, the Permanent Secretary noted that the proposed budget is aimed at completing ongoing projects which could not be completed with the level of budgeted funds in the 2022 budget.
According to him, these include phased replacement of vehicles, Villa Telecommunication Infrastructure, Routine Maintenance of the presidential Villa facilities, remodelling and upgrade of the State House Mini Zoo.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that the 2023 budget proposal of N21.1 billion is comparatively lower than the 2022 appropriation of N40.1 billion by N19.01 billion.
He explained that the significant decrease was mainly in the capital expenditure and is due to the expected completion and commissioning of the Presidential VIP Wing of the State House Medical Centre, as well as a marginal decrease in the personnel cost as a result of the anticipated retirement of 40 State House staff in 2023.
On the 2022 budget performance, the Permanent Secretary said the State House appropriation for overhead was N7.7 billion out of which the sum of N4.5 billion representing 58.3 per cent has been released between January and July , 2022.
He said from the overhead releases, N4.2 billion representing 93 per cent of the released amount has been expended leaving a balance of N311.3 million.
On capital expenditure, Umar disclosed that out of N29.5 billion appropriated, the sum of N23.3 billion representing 79 per cent has so far been released while N16.9 billion has been expended leaving a balance of N6.1 billion.
The Permanent Secretary, while acknowledging the dwindling revenue challenges of the country, told the legislators that State House anticipates that the balance of 41.7 percent overhead and 28 per cent capital would nonetheless be released before the end of the 2022 budget year.
‘‘This would enable us to undertake important budgeted commitments as well as complete some priority projects which are currently at advanced stages of procurement or completion,’’ he said.
The Chairman of the Committee on Special Duties affirmed the commitment of members to scrutinise the 2023 budget proposals, promising to continue to interface with the State House management.