The Permanent Secretary attached to the State House, Jalal Arabi, has justified the allocation of N3.2 billion for capital projects at the State House clinic in the draft 2016 budget, saying the money was intended to transform the clinic to a centre of excellence.
The proposal to spend a whopping N3.8 billion on the clinic, which is mainly used by the President, the Vice President, their families, personal staff and few privileged officials, has been roundly criticised by Nigerians.
A review of the budget by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that the N3.2 billion allocated for capital project at the clinic was more than the combined allocations for capital projects in all teaching hospitals in the country.
The allocation to the State House Clinic is also more than the total allocation for the construction of hospitals across the country.
When asked why the State House Clinic got more money allocated to it than teaching hospitals for capital projects, Permanent Secretary Arabi said the huge vote to the medical centre was based on the presidency’s desire to turn the facility to a centre of excellence.
Mr. Arabi spoke about 24 hours after Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, dissociated himself from the controversial allocation to the hospital, saying the State House Clinic is not under his purview.
He however said the figure should be checked again to make sure that those he described as “rats” had not inflated the allocation to the clinic.
The minister had earlier told the senate committee on health that the budget for his ministry which he was called to defend had been doctored and that “foreign” appropriation had been sneaked in.
“The State House Clinic is not under the Ministry of Health,” Professor Adewole said. “I hope it’s not the same rats that changed things in our budget that changed it.
“The amount is meant for procurement and purchase of medical equipment. It is very important that you engage them because what happened to us might have also happened to them. It is possible that what is there might not have been what they put there.”
But the permanent secretary for the presidency has now confirmed that the allocation the clinic was not doctored, but that the N3.2billion vote was deliberate.