A total of N1.5billion will be spent by the Governor Alex Otti’s administration in Abia State for the purchase of “two number of Toyota Hilux” in 2024, a copy of the state’s 2024 approved budget seen by SaharaReporters has revealed.
It was reported that Otti proposed to spend a total sum of N13 billion on the purchase of cars, vans, trucks and buses in 2024. Otti on December 28, 2023, assented to the 2024 Appropriation Bill of N567.2 billion.
In the breakdown of the budget, N5,946,756,437 was budgeted for the purchase of motor vehicles, N2,704,980,600 for the purchase of vans, N949,000,000 for the purchase of trucks and N3,011,804,906 for the purchase of buses.
A further breakdown of the budget by SaharaReporters showed that N1.5 billion out of the N13 billion approved for vehicles will be used for “Purchase of 2 Number Toyota Hilux”. The contract was captured under Total Capital Expenditure, Reform for Government and Governance, Office of the Governor.
This is the first time such amount would be budgeted for purchase of such vehicles in the last four years, a copy of the approved budget further revealed.
Another N712 million was also budgeted and approved by the state assembly for the “Purchase of 2 No of Nissan Trucks for Government House”.
The billions of Naira for the four vehicles was approved to be spent at a time when the state is borrowing to finance over 70 percent of the N567.2 billion budget for 2024. It was reported that the approved budget had a deficit of around N400 billion which the state said would be financed with local and external borrowings.
The state’s revenue for 2024 in the budget was estimated at N166 billion which will be generated through grants from multilateral organisations, Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), allocation from the Nigerian government and other income sources.
In 2023, it was reported how Otti spent a whopping N927 million within three months on refreshments/meals, settlement of honorarium, allowances, and welfare packages for the eggheads. About N737,922,661.25 was also spent to buy motor vehicles within this period. However, the quantity and the people the vehicles were bought for were never stated. Q
According to a copy of the state budget performance obtained by Sahara Reporters, the governor spent N223,389,889.84 on refreshments/meals, while N305, 400,000.00 was spent on honorarium and sitting allowance for government officials between July and September 2023. The Otti-led government also claimed it spent N397,520,734.00 on welfare packages in the document.
Meanwhile, N362,804,050.00 was spent by the Abia governmentmto purchase trucks and another N400,890,000.00 was used for the purchase of buses. Also in the document, the government claimed that N252.4 million was used to run the Deputy Governor’s office for 3 months. The report however showed that only N25 million was spent by the government on the repair of public schools in the state despite that many public primary and secondary schools in the state are in bad shape.