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2024 Budget: Senate Concerned About Funds Allocated To Information Ministry

The Senate Committee on Information has expressed reservations over the meagre allocation for the information ministry in the N27.5 trillion 2024 budget.

Kenneth Eze, the committee chair, said this when the Minister of Information, Mohammed Idris, appeared for the 2024 budget defence on Tuesday in Abuja.

Mr Eze said, “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 these little resources.

“The information ministry is a very sensitive ministry that should be taken seriously and funded, and if we are talking about the renewed hope agenda that we want as a country, the information ministry should be at the forefront.”

The senator added, “It should be the image maker to sensitise the people; there is a widening gap between the government and the people, and there must be enough information to bridge the gap.”

Mr Eze “looked around in the budget” but did not “see the Nigeria Press Council, APCON” or other agencies.

He said, “Is the government telling us that the agencies are being scrapped and that they can function without personnel? ’Who will pay their salary? Just a few months ago, new DGs and executive secretaries were appointed. Honourable minister, this is a serious matter for the committee to look into, and we shall surely do that.”

The information minister, Mohammed Idris, had informed the senators that a national values and attitudes re-orientation campaign under the aegis of the National Values Charter would be launched in 2024.

He added, “The ministry desires 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 had been eroded over the years, so we can have a better country for all of us.

“We also desired the launch of a national and international branding campaign for Nigeria to highlight and showcase its immense natural and cultural resources. We are also going to convene a regular series of press briefings and media engagements for cabinet members and other senior government officials to inform 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 the government.”

Mr Idris explained that the government also “intends to invest resources in modernising the government information and communication management and regulatory system across agencies like the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN).”

Mr Idris added that the N1 billion allocated for the ministry as capital expenditure in 2024 was insufficient for implementing the programmes.


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