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Anger as Senate hits Lai Mohammed, Ministry for making only N620,000 in 2016 as IGR

It was anger and high level annoyance as the Ministry of Information and Culture only realized N620,000 in 2016 and came to the floor of the Senate to defend 2017 annual budget of over N135bn

The Senate committee on Culture and Tourism, yesterday declared that it was unfortunate that the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture generated only N620,000 as total revenue in 2016 for the federal government.

Former spokesperson of the running All Progressive Congress (APC), Alhaji Lai Mohammed is the minister in charge of the ministry in question.

Besides, as the monthly wage bill of the ministry in same year was over N98mn.

Business Hilights recalls that in 2016, the minister through the Permanent Secretary sought a loan of about N13mn from the National broadcasting Commission (NBC) which ended in unresolved controversy.

The abysmal revenue generation in 2016 was revealed budget defence session with the minister and other officials of the ministry yesterday at the National Assembly, Abuja.

Our Correspondent reports that the embarrassing performance compelled the Senate to subject Alhaji Mohammed to intense questioning over poor revenues generated from the culture and entertainment industry

Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, noted that the budget should not only be about expenditure but also about revenue profile, noting in anger that the Senate was displeased with the paltry revenue.

In his remarks, Senator Urhoghide made it clear that “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 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.”

Senator Urhoghide also queried the Minister over the appropriation the sum of N60,000,000 to acquire lands in Lagos, Adamawa and Edo States for the establishment of cultural industries.

He decried further that the Minister, instead, used the released money to acquire lands in Lagos and Adamawa, leaving Edo State.

In his response, Mohammed 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.”

Observers are getting more worried, saying with the level of revenue generation last year, can the ministry deliver on the June, 17, 2017 national Digital Switch over (DSO) which is a capital intensive scheme.

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