Defends establishment of Cultural Centers in China and Brazil
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – AHEAD of the 2019 edition of cultural carnival that is usually coordinated yearly by the Ministry of Information , Culture and Tourism, the Federal Government disclosed yesterday that it would gulp N82.109 million.
Disclosing this yesterday in Abuja while making presentation on 2019 budget proposals of the Ministry and defence of the 2018 estimates before the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed also told the Senators that Cultural Centres established by Nigeria in China and Brazil were good for marketing the image of the country and making the outside world , appreciate Nigeria and Nigerians better .
The disclosure came when the Committee headed by Senator Fatimah Raji – Rasaki took on the Minister on why N82million was proposed for Abuja Cultural Carnival in 2019 when the Carnival did not hold last year despite N62million appropriated for it .
Responding, the Minister said that the N62million appropriated for the carnival last year was not fully cash backed as besides , lumped with other items on capital component of the budget which were not adequately funded .
He said, ” Money for cultural carnival of national magnitude ordinarily , should even be more than N82million but because of synergy the ministry is having with the Federal Capital Territory and other sponsors in terns of accommodation for participants from the various states , feeding , transportation etc, make us to make modest proposal of N82million.”
He also explained to the committee members that Cultural centers established by the Nigeria government in China and Brazil which had budgetary allocation of N25million in 2018 and N35million proposal for 2019 , were very necessary for positive projection of the country’s image.
Mohammed said, ” Cultural Centres are meant for foreign image of the country . They promote tourism and even the economy of the owner country .
“Though not revenue generating centres , but in the long run , add value to the economy and citizens of countries that established them”.
Speaking further, the Minister explained that the total budgetary proposals for the two arms of the Ministry ( I.e , Information, Culture and Tourism) in the 2019 fiscal year , is N5.306billion out which N3.398billion is for personnel cost, N880.507million for overhead and N1.3billion for capital expenditure of both arms .
He however lamented that as a result of N200million that was removed from the overhead cost of the Ministry in the 2018 budget allocations and N1billion removed from capital votes, the Ministry is highly indebted to many of its service providers particularly electricity.