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State House Clinic Budget Cut By FG After Criticisms

The Nigerian government has allocated N1.03 billion to the State House Medical Centre for its recurrent and capital expenditure in the 2018 budget estimates, representing a huge slash compared to the facility’s budgets in the last three years.

According to the breakdown of the budget, the proposed total recurrent expenditure for the clinic is N331 million and the total cash to be expended for capital projects is N698 million.

In the breakdown of the recurrent/overhead expenditure for 2018, N208 million was pegged for the purchase of drugs and supplies, N14 million for ‘uniforms and other clothings’ and N11 million will be spent for local travel and transport including training. This excludes other expenses.

In the capital expenditure profile, N408 million was budgeted for the purchase of health and medical equipment for the facility, N146 million for the completion of the dental wing extension and N120 million for construction of two blocks of 24 units three bedroom flats, all which are ongoing projects.

The clinic in 2015, 2016 and 2017 budgets was allocated N3.94 billion, N3.87 billion and N3.2 billion respectively.

It is not yet clear how much was eventually released in these years.

The clinic, which is meant to cater for the health of the president, vice president, their families and other employees in the presidency, was recently in the news over allegations of mismanagement and lack of essential drugs and facilities.

Aisha Buhari, the wife of the president, also accused the hospital management of not taking care of the facility in spite all the allocations to the hospital.

Mrs. Buhari called for a probe of the hospital management saying the facility lacked basic amenities.

She said though there ”was no single syringe in the hospital,” there were various construction projects going on.

“What is the purpose of the building if there are no equipment there to work?” she had queried.

Many Nigerians have also criticised the use of the funds deployed to the clinic over the years which they say were not reflected in the quality of facilities it has.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported last year that the amount budgeted for the hospital in the proposed budget was more than what was budgeted for all the 16 federal teaching hospitals in the country.

The management of the clinic however said that between 2015 to 2017, the facility only received N1.2 billion as funds for expenditure.

The Chief Medical Director, Hussain Munir, in defense of the poor state of the facility said the president was ”aware of the poor funding of the hospital”, citing a letter written to Mr. Buhari on August 22, 2016.

According to him, the hospital was poorly funded and this affected the provision of basic necessities.

He said of the N290.4 million approved for the purchase of drugs and consumables for the hospital in 2017, only N29 million was spent.

The management of the hospital called for commercialisation of its operations since it could not provide the necessary services for which it was established.