Analysis · Nigeria · Politics

Nigeria: The Presidential Air Fleet (PAF)

The Presidential Air Fleet (PAF)’s budget is under the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA). This year, PAF envisages spending N20.4 million for staff costs and N665 million for overhead without any breakdowns. The capital budget is some N2.9bn thus bringing the Fleet’s total allocation to some N3.5bn.

The PAF has since its establishment gone through several mutations. It has had civilian pilots from the defunct Nigeria Airways side by side with military personnel (due to fear of in-flight coups like the 1985 aborted plot!), but is today largely manned by Nigeria Air Force personnel.

The PAF’s capital budget has been earmarked for motor vehicles (N113.5 million), office equipment (N11.2 million), purchase of sports and games equipment (N15 million), Installation of cameras and related equipment (N12 million), and construction of PAF staff quarters (N241.5 million).

Other items of expenditure include construction of new hangar (N550 million), computerization of aircraft spare parts inventory (N14 million) and the balance of N1.9bn for purchase of Hawker 4000XP aircraft, which was first budgeted for in 2007 and delivered in 2010. What is interesting is that even after delivery in 2010, the sum of about N17bn (US $110 million) was budgeted for it in 2011, and now another $12 million! The N17bn is the amount I mistakenly assumed was in the 2012 budget. This is a very expensive plane indeed that we have been budgeting and paying for across five fiscal years.

There is need to know how much this plane costs bearing in mind the market prices of similar or better, fully-loaded executive jets – information now freely available on the web.

Some have asked the question whether Nigeria’s president needs to maintain a fleet of aircraft. After all, they say, the Queen of England and the British Prime Minister flies everywhere in the world on British Airways, UK’s national carrier. Such views forget to mention that the USA has a fleet of aircraft dedicated for the president. Even the secretary of state travels on official assignment from that fleet. We should look at our environment and choose what will work for us, but without waste and impunity.

Should our president be made to suffer the usual several hour delays when travelling even within Nigeria? I do not think so. Last time I checked, we had 5 aircraft in the fleet, some of them nearly 20 years old. Do we need five planes? Is the usage of the planes for shopping sprees by presidential friends and relations legal and justifiable? Should private visitors to the president have access to the fleet? What is the framework for accountability and use of these aircraft? These are the questions that need to be answered to make the system work better.

Extract from Mallam Nasir Elrufai‘s article, Budget 2012 (4): The Rewards of Insurgency.

Put together by MuhdLawal.

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