Tordue Salem – Abuja
The House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora on Tuesday, described as inadequate, the N400 million earmarked by the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning for the Nigeria Diaspora Commission
The Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Tiwalola Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, stated this during a budget defence session with the management of the Commission.
Akande-Sadipe said the Commission has a lot to do considering the problems faced by Nigerians in the Diaspora, stressing that the number of Nigerians in prisons abroad alone could gulp so much funds when the Commission sets up intervention programme.
She said: “Let us look at what this Committee can do. What this Committee means to Nigerians and when you compare this, you will conclude that the money being voted for the Commission is infinitesimally inadequate.
“As a Committee, we would work with our counterpart in the Senate to ensure that commensurate funds are appropriated for this very important Commission so that it will be able to deliver on its mandate.”
Continuing, the chairman said she had received information that 23 Nigerians were illegally dumped in prison in Cote’D’voire and urged the Commission to look into the matter.
While presenting the budget proposal, Chairman of the Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, disclosed that they have been given a zero budget for recurrent expenditure and lamented that the Commission does not have an office to operate.
She said apart from the N100 million released to the Commission as take-off fund by President Muhammadu Buhari, no dime has been released from the N400 million earmarked for the Commission in the 2019 budget.
Dabiri-Erewa said: “In 2019, we were allocated N400 million but nothing has been released. The minister of finance has promised to make some releases and we hope to have better funding in 2020.
“The Fiscal Responsibility Act says for an agency like this, it should get at least a minimum of 5 percent of the overhead of the parent ministry; and this Commission is under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”