Aso Rock’s Internet to gulp N136.9m

THE 2016 budget proposal presented before the joint session of the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari two weeks ago indicates that a whooping N139.9 million out of the N39billion budgeted for the Presidency will be spent to have Internet in Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power.

A breakdown of the figure shows that the sum of N114.4million is to be expended on the upgrade of the internet infrastructure in the State House with another N22.5million to be spent on purchasing Internet servers.

Other technology-related expenditures in the budget proposal include the purchasing of what is described as ‘Active Devices for State House Network,’ which will cost N100million. Another N35million is to be expended on the purchase of security appliances and licences, including computer anti-virus software.

This is even as the 2016 budget includes a N55.7 million for installation of budget planning software. The presidency will also spend N27.5 million for the purchase of computers.

Meanwhile the 2016 budget was a mixture of surprises. While some sectors are jubilating, others are racking their brains on how to sort out the confusion the budget has put on their operations.

For instance, the Ministry of Communications and two of its agencies are to share N15, 997, 128, 516 billion as their total budgetary allocation for the year 2016. While this is a great improvement upon last year’s N9.9 billion, it also has its own flaws.

The budget did not provide for capital expenditure for Nigeria Postal Service, (NIPOST), as it denies it of CAPEX. This means that the sub-sector may not engage in any meaningful innovations in 2016. It will only have to pay salaries from its N6,694,205,844 recurrent allocation.

The Ministry of Communications has the Nigeria Communication Satellite, Nigeria Postal Service as agencies under its supervision.

According to the summary of the budget, a total of N600,239,582 was proposed for personnel services; N240,879,440 for overhead; N841,119,022 for recurrent expenditure, while a total of N5,000,000,001 was apportioned for capital projects for the ministry headquarters, bringing the total allocation for the Ministry headquarters to N5,841,119,023.

For the Nigeria Communication Satellite, the summary also showed that a total sum of N2,310,489,133 was proposed for personnel cost; N71,314,517 for overhead; N2,381,803,650 for recurrent and N1,079,999,999 for capital expenses, which brings the entire allocation to agency to N3,461,803,649 for the year.

For the Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), a total of N6, 694,205,844 was proposed for both personnel cost and recurrent expenditure, bringing the total allocation to N6, 694,205,844.

The above figure brings the entire personnel budget proposal for the ministry for the year in review to N9, 604,934,559. The overhead was N312,193,957 and N9,917,128,516 for recurrent, while N6,080,000,000 was mapped out for capital and this brings the total allocation to N15,997,128,516.

A breakdown of the budget proposal showed that Federal Government proposed N533, 546, 295 as allocation for salaries and wages for the ministry headquarters.

N52, 804,164 was appropriated for miscellaneous expenses, N5, 770,296 for utilities-general, N1, 918,072 for maintenance of plants/generators and N14, 142,734 for security services.

Further breakdown of the budget revealed that N256,721,015 was budgeted as allowances and social contribution for the staff of Nigeria Communication Satellite while, N18,786,778 was appropriated for miscellaneous expenditure.

N2,007,279 was, however, proposed for travel and general transportation; N2,381,680 utilities-general uses, whereas, N4,240,296 was for maintenance services, fuelling and lubricants received N22,844,634 . For NIPOST, while there was zero allocation to capital expenditure, recurrent got N6, 694,205,844?