…As Reps Move to Raise NIDCOM Budget
By Tordue Salem, Abuja
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, yesterday promised the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, that a new Diaspora Policy will be ready in 3 weeks.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyema, represented by his Minister of State, Ambassador Zubairu Dada, made the disclosure before the Diaspora Committee.
Also read: Budget 2021:Information Ministry to spend N1.3bn on travel, miscellaneous, refreshment, others
He said, “I want to assure you that in three weeks’ time, the Federal government will come out with a Diaspora Policy”.
The Minister who made the disclosure at a Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, 2020/2021 budget defence session, with the Chairman of NIDCOM, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, also decried the poor allocation for the commission.
For the 2020 budget, the commission was allocated a personnel cost of N247million, with about N206,640 released as at October, while a balance of N41,328, 948, 50 was still left.
For an overhead component of the budget, the Minister told the Committee, that only N27,076, 094million was released, with the only N22.5m accessed and utilized.
While N100m budgeted for capital, only N53 million was released, with only N52m utilized, leaving a balance, N623,000 for Sept, October, November, December.
For 2021, the Ministry complained that only N143, 795, 80million was allocated to them as personnel cost, instead of the N247million they submitted to the budget office in the presidency.
“We made a proposal of over N247m, but from the observation, it will appear there was a mistake somewhere down the line. we are not aware of any retrenchment at Nidcom. we can’t seem to explain how this figure came about”, the Minister told the Committee.
The Minister also regretted that there is “zero allocated for travels for NIDCOM. international travels & local travels received zero allocation”.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa, in her comments at the session, lamented that “there is no provision for office, in the budget; even with the initial budget(of 2020), there was none”.
However, Chairman of the Diaspora Committee, Rep. Tolu Akande-Sadipe on behalf of the committee, promised NIDCOM, that the lawmakers will make sure the budget of the commission is increased even above their proposal of N247million for personnel so that the agency can employ more staff and be more efficient.