Federal Government identifies hindrances to implementing government programmes

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Nigerian government has identified five major hindrances including the late passage of annual appropriation Act, to the implementation of programmes and policies designed to improve the welfare of its citizens.

Minister of Information, National Orientation and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammad stated this on Tuesday, when he appeared before the Senate committee on culture and tourism to defend the 2017 budget proposal of the Ministry.

He named the hindrances as, inadequate appropriation, delay in the release of appropriated funds, cumbersome nature of the procurement process, and partial release of funds designated for public projects.

The Minister also used the occasion to call for the placement of culture and tourism on the residual list, in order to eliminate the difficulty in regulating the sector, adding that there was also the lack of “political will” to develop the sector and absence of “Convention bureau” to attract big time events to Nigeria as a tourism destination.
Meanwhile, the Senate has frowned at the remitted N620,000.00 which was the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), for the year 2016 by the Culture sector of the Ministry, describing it as totally unaccountable.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, who noted that budget was not only about expenditure but also about revenue profile, said that the Senate is not satisfied with the paltry amount of  N620,000.00 (IGR) of the culture and tourism sector.

“Budget is not just about expenditure, no one is talking about revenue, we need revenue profile. Each time you come, only expenditure is mentioned, how can you say it is N620, 000.00 that was raised by your ministry from the culture sector, we must exhaust all the avenue to generate funds internally, we seriously frown at the low and poor IGR. We query it, you must look inward, and it is not acceptable,” Senator Urhoghide.

He also expressed displeasure at the failure of the Ministry to establish the six cultural industries proposed in the 2016 budget, and wondered why only two plots of land were acquired in Lagos and Adamawa states for the purpose of such industries.

The Minister who told the Committee that in 2016, N210,000,000 was appropriated for the establishment of cultural centres in six states, with same amount released, noted that expenditure commitment to date on the projects stands at N107,904,175 while the balance is N102,095,825.

He added that the ministry in 2016, had a total of =N=21,180,500 appropriated for study tour of sites for information gathering.

Mr Lai Mohammed also defended the various proposals for the 2017 budget, including the sum of N750, 218, 000.00 proposed as capital expenditure for the 2017 fiscal year.