The House of Representatives Committee on Information and Culture, has called for adequate funding for the culture and tourism sector.
The committee, Chaired by Rep. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama (PDP-Edo) made the appeal during the Ministry of Information and Culture budget defence on Tuesday in Abuja.
Ogbeide-Ihama, said that the committee would try within its jurisdiction as lawmakers to ensure all necessary support to the sector.
“From our end as legislators, we are always willing to give any necessary support that falls within our jurisdiction or powers as parliamentarians.
“I keep seeing Federal Government with the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approving billions for various ministries and as the mouth piece of the administration, it falls within your purview to be the one to sit beside the minister who gives the brief.
“I don’t know how we can support you to get the federal government to make Nigerians also hear one day on Television that N2 billion, N3 billion, N4 billion, N5 billion and so on has been approved by FEC to turn around and boost the culture and tourism sector in Nigeria.
“For us when we watch TV and we hear that they approved N7 billion for Solid Minerals, N10 billion for some others.
“It makes us wonder as minister of Information who oversees the culture and tourism sector is saddled with the responsibility of giving Nigerians this information and we wonder why.
“So let them refer you to say what they have approved, it is time to say, what have you approved for culture and tourism.
“This is because it is a sector that will create job opportunitie,”he said.
“The minister gave me an insight into his vision for the sector two years ago.
“We had an in-depth talk about the National Theatre and others.
“But they cannot tell you to be announcing billions of other sectors and not announce for culture and tourism.
“So if there is anything we can do, we will support you and at your end it is time to ask your questions,”he said.
Ogbeide-Ihama also commended the minister for the good work in the tourism sector.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, spoke on the ministry’s financial performance of the 2018 budget.
He said that the personnel appropriation, under the 2018 emolument cost of N3.1 billion was appropriated for the Ministry of Information and Culture and released for payment of staff salaries and allowances for 2018.
“The nominal role is also included for both serving and retiring officers.
“The 2018 overhead appropriation is N660.5 million.
“Actual release is N440. 2 million leaving a balance of N220. 4million, yet to be released.
“Percentage release therefore is 67 per cent,” he said.
According to him, the total releases of N440,295,754 million only indicated about total expenditure, stood at the sum of N440, 295, 754 million.
For capital development fund, he said the sum of N840,510,582 million only was appropriated in 2018 for the culture sector to undertake the nine projects.
“For the capital projects and sensitisation, workshop on the potentials in the creative industry and tourism sector,” he said.
He said N50 million was appropriated and nothing was released as they could not do anything in that area till date.
Under special projects on lucrative industry, film, TV, music, photography, tourism and fashion, he said the sum of N163,652,837 million was appropriated but only N93,653,837 million was released.
He said this was out of which N88,503,340 million was spent with the balance of N5,150, 523 million which represented 97 per cent of the released sum.
The minister said for the Abuja carnival, National Creativity weekend, accommodation and participation in world events, the sum of N148,445,508 million was appropriated, N148,445,508 million was released.
He said that N100,473,836 million so far had been expended, leaving a balance of N7,971,672 million which represented 94 per cent performance.
The minister prayed for timely release of funds, adequate release of funds.