The Presidency has dismissed reports suggesting that the State House Medical Centre had received N11.01 billion as appropriation between 2015 and 2017, saying that the clinic only got about N1,195,257,022 billion during the period under reference.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Deputy Director (Information) at the Presidential Villa, Mr. Attah Esa.
The statement quoted the Permanent Secretary in State House, Mr. Jalal A.. Arabi as saying that the medical centre had zero capital allocation in the 2017 budget while out of the N331,730,211.00 being recurrent appropriation for this year, the actual amount released up to September was N91,370,053.60, representing only 27.54 per cent.
The statement reads: “According to the Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal A. Arabi, contrary to the above 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. He observed that 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.
“Giving further insight into the scope of the Medical Centre’s clientele, Arabi 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.
In the words of the Permanent Secretary, “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.”
Meanwhile, claims on social and traditional media that $25 billion worth of oil contracts were awarded by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) or that the amount is missing in the corporation are false, the Presidency also said.
A statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity in Office of the Vice President, Mr. Laolu Akande, said no contracts were procured by the NNPC based on the leaked memo of the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources even though such impressions have been created in the past few weeks.
“When you look diligently at the referenced projects/transactions one by one, you will see, as NNPC has shown, that none of them was actually a procurement contract. Take both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale, Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements for instance, these are not procurement contracts involving the expenditure of public funds.
“Both transactions are simply a shortlisting process, in which prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum are selected under agreed terms, and in accordance with due process.
“It is, therefore, wrong and misleading to refer to them as though they’re contracts involving the expenditure of NNPC funds, or public funds of any sort. As you now know, the Honorable Minister of Petroleum Resources himself has in fact clarified that he meant to focus on administrative and governance issues, not red-flag any fraud – because no fraud exists in this matter.
“Attaching monetary values to these contracts is an arbitrary act that completely distorts understanding of the situation. Whenever there is a monetary value on any consignment of crude oil lifted in this country by any firm, the proceeds go directly to the Federation Account and not to any company. In fact, the Buhari administration in the implementation of the TSA has closed down multiple NNPC accounts in order to promote transparency and probity,” the statement said.
The statement said even in compiling the shortlisting for the prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum under agreed terms, “there were public placements of advert in the mass media seeking Expressions of Interest (EoI).”
According to the statement, the Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline Contract “is a contractor-financed contract which has not yet been finalized or awarded; it is still making its way to the Federal Executive Council.”
“There were also three presidential approvals given on Joint Venture financing arrangements, meaning loans to cater for cash call obligations. One of these was okayed by the President in 2015, and two by the then Acting President in 2017,” the statement said.