The Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) has said that its budgetary allocations in the last two year have been grossly insufficient to fund its operations.
The commander of the fleet, Abubakar Abdullahi, said this on Thursday, December 15, during a meeting with members of the house of representatives committee on national security and intelligence in Abuja.
According to him, in 2021, the fleet submitted a total budget of N18,767,393,235 but only N12,550,18,732 was approved, while N10,907,642,492 was released as of December 2021. In 2022, the fleet proposed the sum of N19,479,313,645, but N12,476,607,142 was approved in the national budget.
He explained that the total releases to the fleet as of November 2022 comprise 99.83 percent of personnel cost, 94 percent of overhead, and 99.99 percent of capital cost — amounting to the sum of N11.13 billion which is 98.07 percent of the total fund approved.
For 2023, he said the fleet requires the sum of N15,522,357,626 out of which N438,571,562 is for personnel cost; N11,641,170,764 is for overhead cost; while N3,442,615,300 is for capital expenditure.
“Consequently, the shortfall of the overhead greatly affected aircraft maintenance activities in the fleet. Some mandatory upgrades were carried out on a credit basis on the fleet’s longstanding relationship with maintenance companies while others have been moved to the year 2023 budget.
It is important for this committee to note that for successive years, the fleet has been grossly underfunded which has made it difficult to operate. From the fleet records, debts from preceding years are usually carried over to the following year and this has become the tradition. Most of these debts are owned by service providers overseas.
Based on the fleet experience, the cost of maintaining each aircraft ranges between $1.5 million to $4.5 million depending on the level of maintenance. Additionally, the year 2023 is an election year which translates to more missions and space requests for the aircraft due to increased usage.”