Saturday

Buhari Administration Spent N5bn on Presidential Fleet in 15 months Despite Biting Economic Recession.

 
The Federal Government has spent a whopping N5 billion in just 15 months on 10-aicraft Presidential Air Fleet despite biting economic recession in the country, according to The Punch.
 
The Punch revealed that a document it obtained shows that the Presidency put the amount of money so far released for the Presidential Air Fleet since the inception of the current administration in May 2015 till date in the region of N5bn.
 
Showing a breakdown of how the money was spent, the document shows that the that N2.3bn was released for PAF by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation between May and November 2015.
 
That figure included releases for personnel costs, overheads and capital expenditures; out of the N5.19bn appropriated for PAF in the 2015 budget.
 
Of the sum, the Presidency said N99.715m was spent on aircraft maintenance, spares and subscription services. The sum of N98.5m was also spent on operations; N165.373m on training and N85.5m on personnel medicals and overheads, the report revealed.
 
According to the document, PAF spent N1.350bn to settle outstanding liabilities carried over from 2014 while N500m was refunded to the NSA for financial support rendered for the maintenance of the Fleet prior to release of funds.
 
However, experts have said that estimated projections of expenses made in line with the cost of running and maintaining airplanes, about $65.13m (N19.9bn), using the official exchange rate of N305.5 per dollar, may have been spent on the 10-aicraft presidential fleet between May 29, 2015 and August 29, 2016.
 
According to the Presidency, the PAF contains 10 aircraft. These are: Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or AirForce One), one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters. Each of the two Falcon 7X jets were purchased in 2010 by the Federal Government for $51.1m, while the Gulfstream 550 costs $53.3m, a former Minister of Information, the late Pro. Dora Akunyili, had said.
 
The president has been heavily criticized for failing to reduce the sice of the PAF even as the people continue to suffer and bicker over the increased hardship in the country. The government has faced severe criticism for failing to keep to promises that helped bring it to power.
 
The General Secretary, Aviation Round Table, an industry pressure group, Group Captain John Ojikutu, said Buhari needed to reduce the PAF and sell aircraft belonging to most of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
 
He said, “It is high time the Presidency reduced the number of aircraft in that fleet. We can’t be spending our scarce forex to maintain a large fleet of 10 aircraft.”

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