Presidency Air Fleet funding has increased by 121% in nearly eight years under President Muhammadu Buhari.
It has been determined that President Buhari has spent N81.80bn on the upkeep and international travel of the Presidential Air Fleet since 2016.
According to Punch, this sum is broken down as follows: N62.47bn for PAF operations and maintenance; N17.29bn for international and domestic travel; and N2.04bn for “other associated expenses.”
Since the beginning of the Buhari rule in May 2015, the Presidency has kept up a fleet of ten aircraft.
Among these are a Boeing 737-800 (NAF 001), two Falcons 7X, a Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters, and two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters.
Checks show that Buhari’s leadership has failed to lower the size of the fleet, despite promising to do so as part of an effort to reduce the cost of governance.
A sale of the President’s Falcon 7x and Hawker 4000 was advertised in a national newspaper back in October of 2016.
The Falcon may be seen at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International, Airport in Abuja, and the Hawker at the Cessna Zurich Citation Service Centre in Zurich, Switzerland, for any prospective customers.
The planned sales number for the two planes was $24 million, as reported by Saturday PUNCH in March 2018 by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
However, the presidential spokesman claimed that the bid winners refused to pay once they were contacted. They renegotiated the price of the two planes, he said, and arrived at $11 million.
Shehu called the preferred bidders’ attitude “absurd,” and he promised that nobody would be able to “grab a public asset and go away (with it) for nothing” under the Buhari administration.
He also indicated that the jets were still up for grabs for any “serious buyers” from the administration.
It was reported in September of 2020 that the Hawker 4000 bearing the tail number 5N-FGX/: RC 066 was once again for sale by the United States Government.
The sale of the December 2011 in-service business-size airplane has not been confirmed by the Presidency.
However, the two AgustaWestland AW101 VIP helicopters in the presidential fleet were handed over to the Air Force by National Security Adviser Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno (ret.).
The PAF’s budget increased from N3.65 billion in the 2016 fiscal year’s budget to N4.37 billion in the 2017 budget.
The allotment virtually quadrupled from N3.0bn in 2017 to N7.26bn in 2018 and N7.30bn in 2019.
In 2020, the PAFs were allotted N6.79bn, but upon closer inspection it was discovered that this amount had dropped by N503.75m.
This was because of the worldwide quarantine that followed the Coronavirus outbreak, which prevented any new flights from taking off until 2021.
The allocation nearly increased in the two years following the epidemic, from N5.85 billion to N12.55 billion in the fiscal years 2021 and 2022, respectively.
It was reduced by 35% between 2022 and 2023 appropriation bills, with the PAF receiving only N8.07bn in 2023.
Moreover, Punch found that domestic and international travel by the President and Vice President cost the government N17.29bn.
A total of N1.4 bn was spent on travel by Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in 2016, N1.29 bn in 2017, N1.30 bn in 2018, N1.30 bn in 2019, N2.28 bn in 2020, N3.23 bn in 2021, and N3.09 bn in 2022. For the fiscal year 2023, they suggested allocating N3.34bn.
Insurance premiums for the entire fleet of 10 planes came to N1.78 billion, while bank fees ate up N53.01 million.
Since 2016, N2.04bn has been set aside for consumables including food and drink.
The budget for food and drinks increased by 265% as compared to the previous budget period.
Over the course of Buhari’s eight years in office, the budget documents show that N139.2m was set aside for food in 2016, N168.46m in 2017, N193.11m in 2018, N193.11m in 2019, N132.13m in 2020, N193.11m in 2021, and N508.71m in 2022.
In his budget proposal for 2023, which was unveiled last Friday, the President included N508.71m for refreshments.