That we may be dis-informed or mis-informed
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 180,000,000. 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 100,000,000 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 409,240,600. This should not raise eyebrows, but there is something else. There is also a provision for “Town hall Meetings” and 270,000,000 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 100,000,000 budget for “Foreign Media PR/Lobby Consultancy.”In 2016, the Nigerian Television Authority had a budget of 202,807,243 for the “Upgrade of Production Facilities at Zonal Centres – 3 Camera Studio Chain” and in the 2017 budget, 340,666,672 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, 34,417 was budgeted by NTA for the “Upgrade of Satellite Systems to Mpeg 4, Dvb-S2” while in the 2017 budget 106,084,000 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 17,980,000 “To Procure and Acquire Desktops, Laptops and IPad.”
Voice of Nigeria, despite having a recurrent budget that includes 15,000,000 for “Legal Services,” has gone on to allocate an additional 35,000,000 for “Project Litigation and Legal Services” as part of its capital expenditure.
The Nigeria Press Council had a 6,360,000 budget for “Purchase of Library Books and Equipment” in 2016. In the 2017 budget, same item had an approximately 500% increase to 30,553,185. Not done, in 2016 9,740,000 was budgeted for “Purchase Of Archival Scanners And Equipment” while in the 2017 budget same item goes up by over 250% to 25,526,000.
The budget for the National Council for Arts and Culture is just hilarious. With a capital budget of 208,356,128, you will first fall off your chair when you see something like “Construction of Military Barracks” with a budget of 4,372,500. 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” 4,115,200, “Opening/Closing Ceremony and Other Events” 2,100,000, “Secretariat” 460,000, “Sanitation for the Event” 550,000, “Frames” 1,361,730 and so on and so forth. Some items were even repeated more than once.
10,000,000, 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 10,000,000 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 5,000,000.
The National Orientation Agency has a 50,528,800 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 10,540,000. That is not all, we still have a “Change Begins with Me—Campaign on Conservation and Protection of Public Assets and Infrastructure” with a 16,184,000 budget. If you are asking yourself what the difference is, there is none, it is just crafty use of words.
Compliments of the season.
• Nubari is on Twitter @Saatah