Millions of naira have been budgeted by the Federal Government for the purchase and maintenance of standby electric generators in Nigeria’s embassies in countries that hardly ever experience power failure, including New York, USA; Paris, France and Beijing, China.
A breakdown of the budgeted monies was contained in the 2011 Federal budget currently before the National Assembly for approval.
A top Foreign Ministry official told Daily Trust last night that the money was provided for “eventualities” and “unforeseen circumstances.”
Nigeria’s embassy in Beijing, China, is to get N7.7 million for general maintenance services, out of which N576,310 is allegedly earmarked to maintain its power generators.
The Nigeria House in New York, which houses the Consulate-General, is to get N23.3 million was budgeted for general maintenance, of which N2.1 million is for the maintenance of electric generators, even though the last major power failure in the city was in 1977.
Nigeria’s Permanent Mission in New York also got N1.2 million to maintain generators.
The Foreign Ministry has similarly budgeted N2.1 million to service and maintain generators at the Nigerian Embassy in Paris, another N1-4 million for the same purpose in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and N2.5 million for the same purpose in New Delhi, India.
The Nigerian Embassy in Ottawa, Canada got no money for generator servicing but will get N1.6 million for maintenance of office and Information Technology equipment. The embassy in Tehran, Iran is also to get N713,912 for office and IT equipment maintenance.
Other countries where the FG allocated money in 2011 budget for the maintenance of electric generators even though power supply there is very stable include Jeddah, Saudi Arabia [N225,810]; Berlin, Germany [N3.7 million]; Pretoria, South Africa [N789, 861]; Brasilia, Brazil [N192, 466]; Madrid, Spain [N225, 000] and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [N73,997].
Apparently anticipating power failure in the American capital, Washington, USA, the Nigerian Embassy there is to get N1.7 million for generator maintenance, while the Nigerian mission in Tokyo, Japan is to get N1.4 million for the same purpose.
The Foreign Ministry did not however budget any money for generator maintenance in the Nigerian embassies in Moscow, Russia; Tel Aviv, Israel and Tehran, Iran.
Responding to Daily Trust’s enquiries last night, Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry Ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi said the budget for power generators, fuel and maintenance in the embassies “is for unforeseen circumstances.”
He said they budgeted for that in case of any eventuality, saying that they would not want to wait until there is a problem before making a provision.
He said, “I don’t know the details of that but may be they have a template for all missions, because we have missions that may not have outages but missions don’t wait until they have outages in diplomatic service or wait before an event happens before budgeting for it.
“We budget for such in advance and it is normally expected that if in the course of the year nothing happens it will either become a saving or be returned back to government revenue. if you are at home while those abroad keep it and use for other exigency that may arise but with appropriate approval.”
Asked if any mission has returned such monies in the past, the permanent secretary said, “They don’t have to return to headquarters but only inform headquarters of what is not spent while headquarters in its wisdom will tell them to either keep it for exigency that may arise because emergencies do arise and so long as they dully seek approval from the headquarters, it is appropriate for them to disburse the money.”
Source: Daily Trust