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2022 budget: President Buhari to spend N12.5bn on presidential air fleet

The President Muhammadu Buhari administration will spend a total of N12.5bn in terms of expenditure on the Presidential Air Fleet in 2022, according to the breakdown of the Appropriation Bill currently before the National Assembly.

WITHIN NIGERIA had reported that Buhari presented the fiscal document to a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday, October 7.

The Presidential Air Fleet budget is contained in the budget of the National Security Adviser.

According to PUNCH analysis, the PAF’s budget showed that Buhari will spend N2.4bn on what the administration called “compliance with mandatory upgrades on PAF aircraft.”

The budget also revealed that N2bn will be spent on the overhaul of Gulf Stream G550, Falcon 7X and CL 605 engines and N2bn on the repair of air navigational equipment.

The budget of the PAF further revealed that purchase of aircraft calibration equipment will gulp N500m.

The Buhari’s administration also budgeted N210m for what it described as the “purchase of Phase 7 Avionics for AW 139 helicopters.”

Aviation fuel for PAF, according to the Appropriation Bill, will gulp N250m.

The sum of N1.6bn was allocated to general maintenance in the PAF budget while N1bn will be spent on the maintenance of aircraft.

The Presidency had said the PAF had 10 aircraft at the inception of the regime in 2015.

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.

Some of the jets in the fleet have since been handed over to the Nigerian Air Force to boost its operations.

Moves made by the government to sell two presidential aircraft, a Falcon 7X executive jet and Hawker 4000, that were advertised for sale in October 2016, failed at the time.

The decision of the preferred bidders for the two jets to renege on their bid prices was largely responsible for the delay in the sales of the aircraft.

PUNCH reported that the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in an interview back then said the bid amounts agreed to be paid by the two preferred bidders for the two aircraft stood at $24m, which was the projected sales figures.

He said, unfortunately, the winners of the bids, whose identities he did not disclose, reneged when they were asked to come and pay.

In another interview with the publication in 2018, Shehu had disclosed that two jets had been returned to the fleet because the preferred bidders for reneged on their bid prices.

Shehu had said the aircraft had to be taken back to the fleet because there were no serious buyers.

“There are no serious buyers. It’s like those who showed interest initially wanted to rob the country of the aircraft. So they (jets) have been returned (to the fleet),” he had explained then.

When asked whether the Federal Government would consider another round of bidding to sell the aircraft, Shehu had said that could happen if the President gave the directive.

He said, “The first attempt was frustrated. There may be another one in the future if the President directs.

“The process was frustrated by people who thought that they can rob the country of the aircraft.”

It was not clear as of the time of filing this report on Saturday evening if the jets were still in the fleet.

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