The Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, while defending the Ministry’s 2018 budget on Tuesday was unable to provide the breakdown of how N1.8 billion appropriated for the ministry in 2017 was spent.
The information ministry, which increased its budget from N1.8billion to N6.8 billion for its activities in 2018, could not provide the breakdown of the budget performance to the dissatisfaction of the lawmakers.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed told members of the House of Representatives Committee on Information in the 2018 budget, N880 million was earmarked for overhead and N1.30 billion for capital expenditure of the information arm of the ministry. Mohammed added that N3.2 billion was appropriated for personnel cost during the period.
However, the committee demanded that a detailed breakdown of the 2017 budget, including releases and performance, should be provided before further deliberations on the 2018 budget at a later date.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Odebunmi Olusegun (Oyo-PDP) said that in line with the Constitution, the assembly was committed to ensuring a people-oriented budget that would meet their yearning and aspirations.
The legislator said that the agencies under the ministry were meant to be on top of their games in ensuring proper and timely dissemination of information as regards government activities.
He said that lack of enough funding was hampering the performance of the agencies, making them “live on past glory’’.
Olusegun said that during the committee’s 2017 budget performance oversight function, it was discovered that most agencies were operating with obsolete equipment.
He, however, said that the manner available funds were managed required proper scrutiny to ensure transparency and accountability.