Senate says allocation to information ministry insufficient

Sharon EboesomiDecember 12, 20234 min

The senate committee expressed concerns over low budgetary allocation to the ministry of information and its parastatals and promised to ‘do something about it.’ 

Sen Eze on information ministry
Sen. Eze

The Senate has frowned at the allocation to the ministry of information and national orientation in the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget.

The Senate Committee on Information expressed this displeasure during the budget defence session with the officials of the ministry on Tuesday.

In his presentation before the committee, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr. Mohammed Idris Malagi, told the senators that a campaign to reorient national values and attitudes under the National Values Charter (NVC) would begin in early 2024.

He stated that the allocation of N1 billion to the ministry for capital expenditure in 2024 would be insufficient to carry out the programmes and projects to deliver best results. He thereafter reeled out plans for 2024 thus:

“It  is the desire of the ministry to have a big national conversation  around our values and attitudes re-orientation, so that Nigeria will at least rediscover itself and reclaim some of those  values that have been eroded over the years,so that we can have a better country for all of us. We also desire the launch of a national and international branding campaign  for Nigeria to highlight and showcase Nigeria’s immense natural and  cultural  resources.

“We are also going to convane and coordinate a regular series of  press briefings  and media engagements for cabinet members and other senior government officials to avail Nigerians of what various ministries and agencies are doing so that Nigerians will be carried along on what and what are  the projects  and programmes of government. We also intend to invest resources in modernising the federal government information and communication management and regulatory  system across the agencies for example, NAN, NTA , FRCN etc.“ 

READ ALSO: 2024: Senate raises allocation to labour ministry   

The committee chaired by Senator Kenneth Eze (APC, Ebonyi Central) expressed admiration for the vision of the minister and agreed that the budgetary provision for 2024 was insufficient to carry the outlined goals.

“This  is not a budget that can be feasible if we are  telling our story as a country; there is no way we can go far, you have a great initiative on how you are going to transform the country in the area of information, I wonder how you are going to do that with this so little fund.

“Information is a very sensitive ministry that should be  taken seriously and funded, and if we are talking about renewed hope agenda that we want as a country, information (ministry) should  be at the forefront- it should be the image maker to sensitise the people; there is a widening gap between the government and information (ministry) has to bridge this gap.

“I looked around in the budget, I didn’t not see Nigeria Press Council, APCON and other agencies. Is the government telling us that  the  agencies are being scrapped,  that they can function without personnel? Who will pay their salary? Just few months ago, the DG and Executive Secretary were appointed. Hon Minister, this is a serious matter for the committee to look into and we shall surely do that,” he said.

Sharon Eboesomi

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