Budget 2014: Aso Rock clinic’s VIP section gets more funds than two federal teaching hospitals

President Jonathan and his colleagues in government are enjoying first class medical treatments while ordinary Nigerians make do with rundown hospitals with dilapidated facilities

The VIP unit of the presidential hospital will receive N705 million, while an entire teaching hospital will get about N300 million for new projects.

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The federal government will this year pump more cash into constructing an elite wing of the presidential clinic in Abuja where only a few big and mighty will receive attention, a spending that dwarfs the total funds allocated by government for entire developmental projects of two federal university teaching hospitals.

Under the proposed 2014 budget laid to the National Assembly last December, the “Construction of a VIP Wing at the State House Clinic will cost N705 million.”

That amount surpasses the government’s budgeted cost for the building of new wards (buildings), laboratories and all other developmental projects in two university teaching hospitals.

For instance, the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital and the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, have been allocated a total of N662 million for capital expenditure this year.

The two medical facilities are only part of a long list of teaching hospitals which have their capital spending this year outdone by the VIP budget, tagged in the budget as SHMC- State House Medical Clinic.

Among 17 tertiary hospitals in the nation compared with the State House clinic, University of Ilorin’s allocation of N310 million will be the least if the National Assembly approves the budget as submitted.

Other similar hospitals receive a little above N310 million, and some up to N550 million.

The only teaching hospitals with capital budgets exceeding the spending for the Aso Rock elite facility are Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, with N727 million; and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with N1.9 billion.

The skewed allocations are only the latest revelation from Nigeria’s scandalous national budget, tainted for years by spending plans that provide more funding for services available to a few powerful public officials, from the president and his ministers to federal lawmakers, while relatively little go to those that should benefit the public.

Analysts have for years criticized the allocations and have struggled to draw government’s attention for serious corrections.

“A country like Nigeria with its negative developmental indices cannot fritter away resources that are best conserved for national development,” said Ikeazor Akaraiwe of The Rule of Law Collective, a Nigerian civic platform which first raised concerns with the presidential medical spending.

In a statement to the media on Monday, the group described the 2014 budget before the National Assembly as the worst ever proposed in the nation’s history, and laid the responsibility on the finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

“It is an affront to the sensibilities of the teeming poor in our country when a budget that smacks of profligacy and utter waste is tabled before the National Assembly to be passed into law in their name,” the group said.

“This budget and the 1,820 pages in which it was written, in all likelihood, will go down in history as one of the worst budgets ever proposed. It represents a complete detachment from reality. It is a shame that this budget proposal was tabled under the watch of Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. So much more was expected of her and it is disappointing that she has let this budget proposal proceed under her hand. The ultimate responsibility, though, must lie with President Goodluck Jonathan.”

The group also raised concerns with what it reflected as the lopsided allocation on military spending versus spending on the rehabilitation of ex-militants. Read their full statement here.

On Monday, in a rare admission of that possibility, the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Bright Okogu, acknowledged there were multiple errors in the new budget, but said they were “glitches” caused by the use of the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System, GIFMIS, a new budgeting tool.

He referred to the allocation of millions of naira to non-existent projects like the huge sums allocated to the Mathematical Centre, Sheda, Investment and Securities Tribunal and other agencies for fuelling and maintenance of aircraft, boats and railway equipment.

Those agencies however own no aircraft, boats or even railway equipment.

“What happened was that GIFMIS, being a new system, had some glitches that reflected in some of the provisions. It is not totally strange,” Mr. Okogu said at the presentation of the budget details on Monday, by Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala. “Many of you have read about the Obamacare and the challenges they had in actually implementing it. It is a big system, bigger than ours, but with the same features.

The State House Clinic, pointed out by the Rule of Law Collective, is not open to the public. Currently, only staff of the State House are allowed services.

But the planned wing is expected to be used to provide exclusive services to the president and his vice, and senior government leaders visiting the presidential villa.

The N705 million allocated for the VIP wing of the hospital will not be the first, as the same construction had earlier received N300 million in 2012-totaling N1billion for just that unit.

Meanwhile, upgrades, repairs and construction in the entire hospital cost at least N506 million in 2011, N401 million in 2012, and over N300 million in 2013.


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  • redeem

    A teaching hospital is a hospital that provides clinical education and training to future and current doctors, nurses, and other health professionals, in addition to delivering medical care to patients. They are generally affiliated with medical schools or universities (hence the alternative term university hospital), and may be owned by a university or may form part of a wider regional or national health system.Some teaching hospitals also have a commitment to research and are centers for experimental, innovative and technically sophisticated services. So they even supposed to generate revenue internally for their upkeep-must everything be funded in Nigeria by government-from the oil revenue of the SS alone’? When will the cows owned by Ribadu start paying tax to the FGN-sho

    • arewethishopeless

      So it is with internally generated revenue that the presidential hospital is being funded ….?!

      There are so many un-printable things Nigerians should say to you but I believe they say … silence is the best answer for a …

    • Omo Odua

      My friend, even in the land of the creed of federalism, like USA, CANADA, SWITZERLAND etc, teching hospitals or university hospitals (as we are advocating for them to be call) fully funded by government resouces. It does not matter if that government is either federal, state, local, county, municipal or even city, government is government. Go and do your research carfully and see, one research that university hospitals are carrying out will grounded most of the private firms that would involve in it. I know one university hospital here in the USA where they have beeen conducting a research on cancer for the last TEN YEARS, and is still on going, and completely funded by the government that owns the university. The amount involved is far over 80 MILLION DOLLARS and still spending, no, I said NO PRIVATE FIRM INVOLVE.

    • bloggernaija

      Ode

    • Tobibs

      It’s 3am in the morning. I shouldn’t rain curse on you else it sticks.

    • Rik

      Take a cue from Norway’ s health care system. the government does fund a large part of their health care. They have a capped payment policy – Once you have paid up tk 2000k (the government picks up the rest of the bill. Their revenue also comes from Oil like Nigeria!

  • Favnat John

    Which group is raising this critics?

  • ihatesycophant

    Did Papa Clack aware of this spending on Aso Rock clinic or only interested on presidency alone not the masses but individual.

  • Ken

    I may not be a fan of this government but this piece of trash only qualifies for the garbage. The administration has indeed performed below average (by my own assessment though). But are u saying that the State House does not deserve to have a good VIP clinic or are u by any chance implying that the president of Nigeria does not qualify as a VIP? Are u contending that the amount is inflated? It couldn’t have been. Clinic does not end up in erecting a building, it has to be equipped as well. When the President goes abroad to treat rubber bullet or tear gas related injury I bet you will be the first to cry to high heavens. Pls let’s not bring down this nation all in the name of useless politics that does not seek to protect the interest of we the poor masses!

    • Dam Dam

      Why should there be a VIP wing in the state house hospital? it’s already closed to the public, so what wrong with the president receiving treatment in the same building as say David Mark or Pius Ayium* ?

      • Ken

        There is nothing wrong with the president receiving treatment in the same wing as Anyim. For David Mark, they have their own National Assembly clinic. In short, the wing is actually carved out for very senior aids in the presidency and the president & Vice President’s families. Remember, the State House is a community of its own that houses both the support staff ( or what you may call the labourers) and domestic staff of some senior aids. For security reasons, our president deserves not to be made vulnerable through such exposure to a local clinic where every Dick & Harry has access to. All over the world presidents are given such protection. I am surprised they never had it in the State House till now.

        • Tobiloba

          A clinic meant for tens of people isn’t supposed to be more budgeted for than hospitals which are suppposed to cater for at least, 100million citizens. It doesn’t take rocket science to fix most of our problems. Our politicians enjoy all these amenities in sane countries but don’t replicate such here. All it takes is a serious-minded, selfless, disciplined, focused and responsive govt to make things work but sadly, this govt is anything but those. It is clearly disconnected from the realities on ground and its suffering citizens. I didn’t say that, the 2014 budget clearly shows.

    • Tobibs

      Ken Mumu

      • Ken

        Say something with facts and don’t come here to denigrate others when you don’t have any facts available to your disposal. This platform is an elite platform and not for nitwits like you. I bet if you had anything meaningful to say you would have said it. Follow the footsteps of the likes of Dam Dam. You may disagree with my points but don’t heap abuses on me. It is because you are bereaved of what to say, that is was why you resorted to abuses. Please when next you write try and be a bit coherent by writing in English ( that is if you can) and not in such gutter language as you just did. Hope I made myself clear!

        • hp

          after 3 years in the state house it is, now, considered important to build a state of the art clinic in aso rock. does this portray our leader as someone who is proactive and prudent? all I see are plans to pool money for 2015. I agree that there should be a clinic in aso rock for the president but why are they just waking up to such reality?

          • Ken

            Is it not possible that recent developments triggered the idea and the need for such clinic now? Is it not equally possible that recent developments in the polity, like going to London to treat rubber bullet wounds, that gave rise to the idea now? Necessity, they say, is the mother of inventions. By the way, are you saying that the paltry sum that could possibly be stolen from the N705m budgeted for the project is what the president is banking on for his 2015 election? Common!

  • bayo

    This days, no Premium Times story that is negative is complete without the mention of Iweala.

  • Pete

    Do these Premium Times writers know that budgets estimates submitted to the National Assembly are based on the submissions made by the various ministries, departments and agencies rather than arbitrary allocation by the Presidency? This informs the invitation the N. Assembly makes to the various MDAs to come and defend their budgets.
    In trying to pull down the government by all means, Premium Times betray their ignominious ignorance of the budget-making process.

    • Tobibs

      Ode Apoda

      • Pete

        What language is that? Can you, please, communicate?

  • Pete

    An objective report on this matter would have presented corresponding budget estimates for these establishments under previous administrations for comparison.
    So much mischief and perverted use of the Media!

  • hp

    it does not surprise me that there are Nigerians who will support this skewed budgetary allocation. there is no logic on earth that can justify spending more on a VIP clinic than on two federal teaching hospitals. no logic at all. our politicians don’t care about the masses. all they care for is how to loot and loot. annoyingly even the amount voted for the VIP clinic may be looted. who has ever seen the clinic and who will know when then upgrade is done? God will save this nation from this band oof thieves.

  • Usman

    that is incredible, hope for the poor