The Senate, on Tuesday berated the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed over the poor revenue generated by his ministry in 2016.
Speaking during a budget defence session at the national Assembly, the Chairman of the senate committee on Culture and Tourism, Mathew Urhoghide, also queried Mohammed over alleged misappropriation of funds under his leadership.
Urhoghide described as unfortunate the report that the ministry presented only N620,000 as total revenue generated in 2016.
The Chairman queried the minister for diverting N60m budgeted to acquire lands in Lagos, Adamawa and Edo states to establish cultural industries.
According to the Chairman, “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 avenues to generate funds internally. We seriously frown at the low and poor IGR. We query it. You must look inward because this is not acceptable.”
Mohammed, in his defence explained that delay in the release of funds, cumbersome procurement process, among others were responsible for the lack of full implementation of the budget.
He said, “There are several challenges/constraints militating against the smooth implementation of the required programmes/projects.
“Some of these are inadequate appropriation; delay in the release of funds; cumbersome nature of procurement process; partial release of appropriated amount; late passage of Appropriation Act; placement of culture and tourism on the residual list,
which has made it difficult to regulate the sector; lack of political will to develop the sector and absence of convention bureau to attract big-time events to Nigeria as a tourism destination.”