In a statement signed by a Deputy Director of Information, Ettah Esa, on behalf of the Permanent Secretary in the State House Clinic, Mr. Jalal Arabi, said the figure being bandied around was not accurate.
He said contrary to the claim, 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 N969,681,821.53, representing 32.97 per cent for capital and N225,575,200.60, representing 48.41 per cent for recurrent, were actually released.
Arabi said 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 per cent.
The Permanent Secretary emphasised that the above figures are verifiable from the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
He noted 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 had continued to provide free services to the over 10,000 registered patients yearly.
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.
His words: “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.”
Wife of the President, Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, had asked the authorities to give account of the huge budgetary allocation to the hospital as the Presidency announced plans to commercialise the SHMC for better health delivery system amid mounting allegation of misappropriation and withholding of funds meant for medical supplies in the Centre.
Mrs. Buhari, who berated the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the facility, Dr. Hussain Munir, had expressed disappointment over poor services in the hospital despite huge allocations by government to the facility over the years.
She also insisted that there was need to tell Nigerians how the N3.89 billion budget for the clinic last year had been expended before it was reduced to N331.7 million this year.
“If the budget is N100 million, we need to know how the budget is spent,” she said at the opening of a stakeholders’ meeting on Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) organised by her pet projects, Future Assured.