By Aaron Ossai and Disun Amosun
House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism has raised and passed a motion to embark on oversight of all departments and agencies under it’s purview before engaging them on their budget defence.
It however gave a week timeframe for the completion of the oversight owing to the deadline for the committee to turn-in it’s report to the Appropriation Committee of the House.
The Committee took the decision when it became apparent that none of the agencies that turned up for the exercise on the first allotted day met the criteria set by the Committee for their appearance.
The Committee had among necessary documents requested for copies of powerpoint presentations on physical projects embarked upon by the agencies from 2019-2022 to convince it that they actually applied their previous years’ capital expenditure and recurrent releases on what they claimed on paper.
None of the six federal agencies present at the budget defence exercise seemed prepared for the PowerPoint presentation, promting the Committee to opt for the oversight to see things at first hand.
Committee Chairman, Rep. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama had earlier apologized to the agencies for not having embarked on the oversight before now, emphasizing that the agencies ability to receive appropriation in the 2023 budget depended on convincing committee members on how judiciously, previous capitals and overheads were spent.
He lamented the dwindling budgetary allocation to the Culture and Tourism Ministry over the years, noting that the full potentials of the sector cannot be fully realized without proper funding of the Ministry and it’s regulator.
“The Qatar world cup fiesta commencing later this month is a typical example of how a well funded culture and Tourism sub sector can project a country to limelight. That the Qatari culture and Tourism department is the arrowhead of the 2022 mondial is due to the fact that it is well funded”
“At this point, I join others in calling on the government at the centre to up the money made available to the Culture and Tourism Ministry for the country to get the best out of it”, Rep Omoregie said
Among departments and agencies of the Ministry that appeared before the Committee include the National Council for Arts and Culture, Centre for African Arts and Culture and the National Theatre among others.