A civic organisation, BudgIT, has described as “outrageous” and “inflated,” the N21.9 billion allocated for the construction of a 14-bed Presidential Clinic at the State House Medical Centre, Abuja.
In its latest publication titled “Frivolous, Suspicious and Inflated Projects in FG’s Budget Proposal,” where it analysed the projects in the 2022 budget proposal, BudgIT recalled that the same project gulped N1.9 billion between 2019 and 2021.
The organisation said:
The sums of N395m, N416m, and N1.06bn were allocated for this same project in 2019, 2020, and 2021 federal budgets, respectively. It is outrageous that this 14-bed presidential wing still needs N21.9bn.
The Permanent Secretary, State House, Umar Tijjani, had in October said the physical construction of the clinic would commence November 1, by Julius Berger Nigeria (JBN) and is expected to be completed by December 31, 2022.
Mr Tijjani said during a budget defence session with the Senate Committee on Federal Character and Intergovernmental Affairs:
The project was conceived in 2012 by the previous administration and the brief was produced. It was estimated at about N21 billion and the facility contains 14-bed space without a total area of 2,700 square metres. There will be underground and the first floor.
He added components of the facility to be “two number operating theatres, two number executive suites, two VIP, two isolation and one six-bed isolation area.”
Nonetheless, BudgIT recommended that the budget be reviewed downwards by the National Assembly.
The organisation said:
The National Assembly should review this downwards. Savings from the revised allocation should be reallocated to refurbish and equip at least 500 dilapidated Primary Health Care Centres across Nigeria.
There is currently a State House Medical Centre servicing the presidency and its staff. The president’s wife Aisha Buhari once berated the centre for not being up to standard.
Despite the billions of allocations, the medical facility in the statehouse remains unfit for President Muhammadu Buhari, as reports showed he has gone on medical trips over 12 times since the assumption of office in 2015.
Although the president has over time faced criticisms for jetting out of the country for healthcare purposes, the minister of information, Lai Mohammed, slammed critics, on the basis that Buhari has the right to travel for medical treatments.