by Saatah Nubari
This is the third part of my 2017 budget analysis series. In the second part, I analysed the budget of the Ministry of Defence and agencies under it. In this third part, the Ministry of focus will be the Ministry of Information and Culture.
MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE
The total budget for the Ministry of Information and Culture is N49.464 billion. N8.380 billion is the total capital budget, while N41.084 billion is the total recurrent budget. Total overhead budget is N4.49 billion and the total personnel budget is N36.594 billion.
The Information and Culture Ministry has 22 agencies under it, and to save time and space, I will not list or mention them. I will instead go straight to analysing its contents.
“Facilitation of Ministerial Media Appearances with Influencers and Analysts on Radio, TV Social and Print Media” has a budget allocation of N180 million. For starters, this line item can be termed the “propaganda budget” or as someone who comes from Rivers State, I can also call it the “Bobo Juice budget” because that is where the money to oil the big big talk movement will come from, so stay woke. There seems to be a duplication of functions or items as can be seen with the N100 million budget for the “Interaction with Stakeholders e.g NUJ, NAWOJ, RATTAWU, NGE, Bloggers, Online Publishers, NPAN.” A careful look at this and you can say there isn’t much or any difference between it and the item above and below.
There is a “Grassroots Public Enlightenment Campaigns on Government Policies and Programmes (Including Cost of Production of Materials and IEC on Government’s Achievements” with a budget of N409.24i million. This should not raise eyebrows, but there is something else. There is also a provision for “Town hall Meetings” and N270 million was budgeted for it. Now, what is the difference between a town hall meeting and the other item? Packaging, dubious packaging.
We also have a N100 million budget for “Foreign Media PR/Lobby Consultancy.”
In 2016, the Nigerian Television Authority had a budget of N202.807 million for the “Upgrade of Production Facilities at Zonal Centers – 3 Camera Studio Chain” and in the 2017 budget, N340.667 million is the allocation for the same line item. This brings the total to over half a billion Naira.
I do not know if it was an error, but in 2016, N34,417 was budgeted by NTA for the “Upgrade of Satellite Systems to Mpeg 4, Dvb-S2” while in the 2017 budget N106.084 million is budgeted for same item.
In the 2016 budget, I can remember seeing a budget for IPads. I felt I wouldn’t see such this year, but man proposes, God disposes. The News Agency of Nigeria has a budget of N17.98 million “To Procure and Acquire Desktops, Laptops and IPad.”
Voice of Nigeria, despite having a recurrent budget that includes N15 million for “Legal Services,” has gone on to allocate an additional N35 million for “Project Litigation and Legal Services” as part of its capital expenditure.
The Nigeria Press Council had a N6.36 million budget for “Purchase of Library Books and Equipment” in 2016. In the 2017 budget, same item had an approximately 500% increase to N30.553 million. Not done, in 2016 N9.74 million was budgeted for “Purchase Of Archival Scanners And Equipment” while in the 2017 budget same item goes up by over 250% to N25.526 million.
The budget for the National Council for Arts and Culture is just hilarious. With a capital budget of N208.356 million, you will first fall off your chair when you see something like “Construction of Military Barracks” with a budget of N4.373 million. Now let it sink in, the National Council for Arts and Culture has a budget for the construction of a military barrack. That is the highlight, but that is also not all. Dig deeper and you will find allocations like: “Ceiling Finishes” – N4.115 million, “Opening/Closing Ceremony and Other Events” – N2.1 million, “Secretariat” – N460,000, “Sanitation for the Event” – N550,000, “Frames” – N1.362 million and so on and so forth. Some items were even repeated more than once.
N10 million, that is how much the National Gallery of Art will spend in 2017 on “Unlocking Creativity.” I clapped for this particular item; you don’t get more creative than this when you are thinking of graft. What if the N10 million is for that major key DJ Khaled always talks about.
You remember the National War Museum in Umuahia? The one the Ministry of Defence has been budgeting for its “Rehabilitation” since 1914? They are also under the Information and Culture Ministry, and guess what? You guessed right, they also have a budget for their own “Rehabilitation” and it is N5 million.
The National Orientation Agency has a N50.529 million budget for “Building a People of Peace.” You are probably wondering what this is, and you are not alone.
We have a “Campaign against Destruction of Public Assets” item with N10.54 million. That is not all, we still have a “Change Begins with Me—Campaign on Conservation and Protection of Public Assets and Infrastructure” with a N16.184 million budget. If you are asking yourself what the difference is, there is none, it is just crafty use of words.
We have come to the end of the third part of the series. Compliments of the season.
Saatah Nubari is on Twitter @Saatah