The Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs has queried the provision of N1.3bn in the 2012 budget allocation, to the State House for food, entertainment and furniture.
The committee wondered why N500m would be allocated for the purchase of foodstuff alone.
It also raised the alarm over a separate allocation of N293m for refreshment in spite of the provision for food items.
The committee also criticized the provision of N265m for the procurement of computers, which had been captured in the 2011 budget and the N295m for furniture.
Senator Isa Galadu, a member of the committee said;
“The huge allocation for food stuff in a country where 70 per cent live below a dollar and 90 per cent live below two dollars per day is out rightly outrageous. I do not understand why you have allocated N293m for refreshment, apart from the food stuff allocation. The people are correct and they are right to show their anger on this.”
Senator Dahiru Kuta, Chairman of the committee said;
“The purchase of residential furniture for N295m, is it for the residence of Mr. President? Also, you have N265m for computers, you bought computers last year, why do you still want to buy computers this year?” as he demanded explanations from the Permanent Secretary at the Presidency, Mr. Tunji Olaopa.
The permanent Secretary responded by saying that “when we talk about the budget of the Presidency, there is some misrepresentation regarding provision for food stuffs, entertainment and all. Permit me to say that the State House is a huge bureaucracy on its own and it is a meeting point for huge arrays for critical stakeholders, both local and international.”
Mr. Olaopa added that the allocations were to cater for statutory meetings and other official engagements at the State House.
Justifying the inclusion of the computers, Olaopa stated that it was included in the 2012 budget because only N5m was released in 2011.