The Presidency says that a little above N2 billion and not an outlandish N6 billion has so far been has expended on maintenance of the presidential fleet between May 2015 and now.
The amount is said to include salaries and repayment of old debts.
In a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media and Publicity), expressed frustration at what he described as a fictional report that has caused the government a lot of negative reviews, especially in the online media.
Shehu said: “The government is focused on solving the many major issues our country faces in the areas of the economy, corruption and security; yet, almost every week, the Presidency has to also deal with the distractions which do nothing but distract from the task of government.”
Referring to documents he had requested from the Operational Office of the Presidential Fleet after his attention was drawn to the speculative report, Malam Shehu pointed out that N2.3 billion was released to the Presidential Air Fleet by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation between May and November 2015.
This includes releases for personnel cost, overhead and capital expenditure out of the N5,190,381,386.00 appropriated for PAF in the 2015 budget.
The documents also showed that N2,127,103,086.66 had so far been expended, leaving a balance of N172,568,912.34 from the amount released.
“However, the sum of N149,062,791.12 was transferred from the PAG’s operation account to the Treasury Single Account, following the President’s recent directive,” Shehu said.
He added that the sum of N23,801,122.17 remains unutilised out of the funds so far released.
During the period from May 31, 2015 till date, the Fleet expended N1,358,910,962.75 to settle outstanding liabilities carried over from last year till May 2015.
Furthermore, N500 million was refunded to the office of the National Security Adviser for financial support rendered to the Fleet prior to the release of funds from the OAGF.
Thus, the Fleet expended N449,081,037.25 within the last months.
This is made up of N98,500,218.00 for operations, N165,373,176.91 on training and N85,500,116.75 on personnel medicals and overhead.
Additionally, N99,715,493.51 was expended on aircraft maintenance, spares and subscription services required for operations.
Shehu said further in the statement: “Any of these documents could have been made available had the newspaper reached out to me or to any one of my colleagues. The damage to the image of government and the good management of the Presidential Air Fleet could have been avoided.”
The Senior Special Assistant also put the number of aircraft in the presidential fleet at 10 and not 14 as cited by that report.
He gave the inventory in the spirit of openness as transparency instituted by the Buahri administration as made up of:
1. 1× 737 BBJ
2. 1× G550
4. 2× Falcon 7X
5. 1× HS 4000
6. 2× Agusta139
7. 2× Agusta 101.