The State House Medical Centre (Aso Rock clinic) did not receive N11.01 billion as appropriation for the period 2015-2017, Deputy Director (Information) in the State House, Attah Esa, said in a statement on Sunday.
He said the clinic, which is meant to cater for the President, Vice-President and their families, aides, members of staff of the State House and other entitled public servants, has only received N1.195 billion out of the total appropriation ofN3.406 billion, representing only 33 per cent.
The poor state of the clinic has been in public discourse in the past week after the President’s wife, Aisha Buhari, lamented the lack of drugs and equipment at the facility, insisting that the management must explain the use of funds allocated to the medical facility.
The First Lady’s outburst came a week after her daughter, Zahra, equally called out the State House Permanent Secretary, Mr. Jalal Arabi, on social media, asking him to account for the N3 billion.
But the statement released Sunday quoted the Permanent Secretary, as saying that contrary to the N11.01 billion claims, “out of the total Capital Appropriation of N2,941,062,044.00 and Recurrent Appropriation of N465,935,358.00 for the period under reference, only the sum of N969,681,821.53 (representing 32.97%) for Capital and N225,575,200.60 (representing 48.41%) for Recurrent was actually released.”
Arabi also said it may interest the public to know that there was zero capital allocation for the Medical Centre in 2017, while out of the N331,730,211.00 being recurrent appropriation for 2017, the actual amount released up to September was N91,370,053.60 (representing only 27.54%).
The Permanent Secretary emphasised that the above figures are verifiable from the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
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According to him, “during the three-year period under review (indeed two years since no capital allocation for 2017), and despite the shortfalls between budgetary provisions and actual releases, the Medical Centre continued to provide free services to the over 10,000 registered patients annually. In addition, the Centre has continued to execute on-going projects.”
Arabi, while giving more insight into the scope of the Medical Centre’s clientele, stressed that apart from the Presidency, other beneficiaries of the free services include political appointees, the military, para-military, other security agencies, members of the National Assembly, and the general public.
The Permanent Secretary said, “Considering the unrestricted patronage base and free services of the State House Medical Centre, coupled with the funding hiccups and periodic receipts, it may not be far-fetched to notice gaps between demand and supply of medical equipment and consumables at certain stages of the budget circle.”