The State House Clinic received N1.2 billion (N1, 195,257, 021) between 2015 and 2017, as expenditure, the presidency said on Sunday.
The amount consists of N970 million (N969, 681, 821.53) for capital projects and N226 million (N225, 575, 200.60) for recurrent expenditure, Attah Esa, a deputy director Information said in an official statement.
The hospital and its management have come under intense criticism from Nigerians including Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Mrs. Buhari lamented the lack of basic amenities despite the allocations to the hospital, calling for probe.
“I called the Aso Clinic to find out if they have an X-Ray machine, they said it’s not working,” she said in Abuja last week.
“In the end I had to go to a hospital owned and operated by foreigners 100 per cent.
“There is a budget for the Hospital and if you go there now, you will see a number of constructions going on but they don’t have a single syringe there. What is the purpose of the buildings if there are no equipment there to work with?”
The president’s daughter, Zahra, had expressed similar views about lack of basic drugs at the hospital, used mainly by the officials and staff of the presidency and other top government functionaries.
The management of the hospital had earlier said it was underfunded and called for commercialisation of its operations.
Mr. Esa, in his statement on Sunday admitted that the hospital had received 33 per cent of its capital appropriation in the past three years as well as 48 per cent of its recurrent appropriation.
Read Mr. Esa’s full statement below.
The attention of the Presidency has been drawn to recent media reports suggesting that the State House Medical Centre had received N11.01billion as appropriation for the period 2015-2017.
According to the Permanent Secretary, State House, Jalal A. Arabi, contrary to the above claims, 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 the sum of N969,681,821.53 (representing 32.97%) for Capital and N225,575,200.60 (representing 48.41%) for Recurrent was actually released.
Mr. Arabi also said it may interest the public to know that 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%).
The Permanent Secretary emphasised that the above figures are verifiable from the Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
He observed 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 continued to provide free services to the over 10,000 registered patients annually. In addition, the Centre has continued to execute on-going projects.
Giving further insight into the scope of the Medical Centre’s clientele, 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.
In the words of the Permanent Secretary, “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.”