The Ondo State government spent more money on refreshments and meals for public officials and their guests than it spent on providing potable water for millions of its residents who have no access to the basic necessity.
Between 2013 and 2015, the state government agreed to spend N1.79 billion on refreshments, meals and political donations, PREMIUM TIMES can exclusively report.
While N1.2 billion of the sum represented actual expenditure in 2013 and 2014, the remaining N590 million represents the aggregate of the proposed estimates for 2015.
The money was jointly expended by the three arms of government – the executive, legislature and judiciary – all of whom make up less than 0.1 per cent of the state’s population.
The expenditure profile is as contained in the state’s budget approved for 2015 by the House of Assembly.
The amount spent on meals, refreshments and donations by the government is far more than what was spent on water and sanitation projects (WATSAN) for the same period.
According to the figures in the approved budget, which is tagged “Caring Heart Budget VI,” between 2013 and 2015, the Ondo State government voted N363 million for WATSAN.
Provision of potable water for residents is a huge challenge the state government, one of the richest in the south-western part of the country, appears unable to resolve.
Although pipe-borne water is available at the city centre in Akure, the state capital, most homes in the state rely on personally dug and untreated wells and boreholes for water.
The Ondo State Water Corporation currently sells a 20 litre keg of water for N20 to the public at different points within the city.
It is not only on meals and refreshments for its elites that the expended huge amounts, the state also voted N1.47 billion for inexplicable expenditures by both the Executive and the Legislature.
Such expenditures include, “Peace and Prosperity In the State”, “Initiative For Advancement of Democratic Values,” “Opinion Poll Research,” “Gift items during festivities and children’s party,” among others.
Government won’t explain
Responding to PREMIUM TIMES enquiries on the expenditure, the Chief Press Secretary to the Ondo State Governor, Eni Akinsola, said he did not have a copy of the budget details to be able to respond adequately.
He, however, said the budget is an estimate of what government intended to spend in a fiscal year and did not really represent actual expenditures.
When confronted with the fact the figure included actual expenditures in 2013 and 2014, he noted that he would need to get back to his office and take another look at the figures.
“If it is not a do or die affair, I will need to return to the office, because I am in Abuja right now, so I can respond when we have the figures,” he said.
When Mr. Akinsola was called the following day, he would not answer his call, but sent a message that he was still in Abuja. About a week later, he was yet to respond to our enquiries.
The Chairman of the House of Assembly Committee on Information, George Olamide, did not answer or return calls seeking comment. He also did not reply a text message sent to him.
|Expenditure For Meals and Refreshments (2013-2015)|
|S/No||Agency Category||Actual Expenditure 2013N(million)||Actual Expenditure 2014N(million)||Proposed Expenditure 2015N(million)|
|4.||House of Assembly||131.70||38.30||47.30|
|3||House of Assembly||8.00||7.00||10.00|
|Aggregate Total 1,790.70|
|Curious Expenditures – Governor’s Office|
|S/No||Items Description||Actual Exp. 2013||Actual Exp. 2014||Proposed Exp. 2015|
|1||Gift items during festivities/children’s party||145.60||142.80||Nil|
|2||Opinion Poll Research||21.50||Nil||95.00|
|3||Hosting of guests during special events||133.70||129.00||204.00|
|4||Settlement of Hotel Bills||121.70||131.10||120.00|
|Curious Expenditure – House of Assembly|
|1||Peace and Prosperity in the state||15.00||27.00||40.00|
|2||Initiative for the advancement of democratic values||38.50||35.00||30.00|
|3||Clearing of Assembly premises||10.40||4.50||10.00|
|4||Procurement of uniforms for Sergeant At Arms||4.00||2.50||5.00|
|Aggregate total 1,466.30|