Ex-Presidents, Former VPs, Others Get N13.8bn Upkeep Allowance

A total of N13,805,814,220 has been earmarked for the upkeep of former presidents, vice presidents, heads of state, Chiefs of General Staff, retired heads of service, permanent secretaries, as well as retired heads of government agencies and parastatals in the 2024 fiscal year.

Former Nigerian leaders expected to benefit from this include former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, as well as ex-vice-presidents Atiku Abubakar, Namadi Sambo and Prof Yemi Osinbajo. Ex-military Heads of State, General Yakubu Gowon and General Abdusalami Abubakar, as well as a former dictator and self-styled military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, and a former Chief of General Staff, Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe (retd.) will also benefit from the windfall.

Punch also reported that N1tn was provisioned for the public service wage adjustment for government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (including arrears of promotion and salary increases, and payment of severance benefits and minimum wage-related adjustments). In the 2024 budget, entitlements of former presidents/heads of state and vice presidents/chief of general staff will cost N2.3bn, while N10.5bn is proposed as benefits for retired heads of service, permanent secretaries and professors.

Payment of severance benefits to retired heads of government agencies and parastatals is proposed to cost N1bn. Other allocations include N65bn for the Presidential Amnesty Programme for the reintegration of transformed ex-militants; N1bn for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Energy; and N108bn for unnamed special projects. The federal government is also proposing the sum of N40bn to offset electricity debts owed to power distribution companies by all MDAs. It was however noted that the government budgeted N27bn in 2022 and N40bn in 2023 for the settlement of the debt, but it is unclear if it made payments to the Discos.

 The ministries of Works, Finance, Education and Defence and others got lion’s shares of the N8.7tn capital component of the N27.5tn 2024 budget as contained in sectoral allocation details. The Ministry of Works is allocated N521.3bn, followed by the Ministry of Finance with N519.9bn, while N308.2bn is earmarked for the Ministry of Defence. Similarly, the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare is to get N304.4bn, while the Education Ministry has an allocation of N265.4bn. Others are the Ministry of Power, N264.2bn, government-owned enterprises, N820.9bn; Tertiary Education Trust Fund, N665bn; the Housing and Urban Development Ministry, N96.9bn; the Water Resources Ministry, N87.7bn; and Police Affairs ministry, N69bn.

The National Assembly under statutory transfers gets N198bn; the Niger Delta Development Commission, N324.8bn; Universal Basic Education Board, N251.4bn; National Judicial Council, N165bn; North East Development Commission, N126bn; and Basic Health Care Provision Fund, N125.7bn. Under capital supplementation, zonal intervention, otherwise called constituency projects for federal lawmakers, gets N100bn; special projects, N108bn; contingency (capital), N200bn; aid and grants funded projects, N685.6bn; and National Social Investment Programme Agency, N100bn.

✍️ Bayo Nelson