The Senate on Tuesday made a case for more funding for the Ministry of Information and Culture to enable it to execute its mandate.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, Sen. Danladi Sankara, made the appeal during the budget defence of the ministry and its agencies held at the National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
He expressed dissatisfaction with the poor budgetary allocation to the ministry and its agencies calling for more funding to ease their plight.
“As a matter of fact, we are not happy with the budget put for the ministry of information because the budget, if you look at it, is not enough.
“There are so many schedules with our ministry and it’s our duty to try all we can do to interface on the matter.
“We have to contact the minister of finance and also the budget office so as to consider the allocation given to Information.”
In his submission, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, expressed gratitude to the committee for the support enjoyed.
“I must first of all thank you for the cooperation from this committee all through last year. More importantly for the empathy we have enjoyed from the committee.
“I want to also put on record my appreciation and that of the ministry in your appreciation for the challenges facing the ministry and facing government.
“It is a thing of joy for me and the ministry to hear that the senate committee on information and national orientation, led by the chairman, has been fighting our course for us.
“This is in the sense that the committee understands through our various interactions that the burden with the ministry to execute its mandate is onerous and needs a lot of resources.
“I can’t thank you enough, Mr Chairman and distinguished members.”
While giving an analysis of the 2020 budget, the minister said that the total sum appropriated for the ministry was N616,134,981 and actual release stood at N444 million leaving a balance of N172 million which had not been released.
“The percentage of what was released to what was actually appropriated is 72 per cent.”
While defending the budget of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the agency’s Managing Director, Mr Buki Ponle, said that the 2020 revised capital allocation to the agency was N10,129,654, while N1, 564, 827 was released so far representing 15.45 per cent.
Ponle said that N2,148,370,110 was being proposed for 2021 fiscal year, comprising capital, over head and personel expenditures.
“Personnel: N1,665,021,368; Over head: N215,401,467; while capital is N267,947,275.”
He also revealed that the agency proposed N142,256,468 as Internally Generated Revenue for the 2021 fiscal year.
NAN reports that other agencies from the ministry that appeared for the defence include Voice of Nigeria (VON), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Nigeria Press Council (NPC) and Nigeria Film Corporation (NFC).(NAN)