The Bumps In Foreign Affairs Budget
I WILL begin by stating the agencies that have been placed under this Ministry, and they are as follows: Federal Ministry of Foreign & Intergovernmental Affairs—HQTRS, Technical Aids Corps, Foreign Service Academy, Institute For Peace and Conflict Resolution, Directorate of Technical Coop. in Africa, Nigerian Institute of International Affairs and 120 Foreign Missions.
The total budget for the Ministry of Foreign & Intergovernmental Affairs stands at N49,526,208,900; N40,663,193,241 of that amount will go to “Recurrent Expenditure” while 8,863,015,659 will go for “Capital Expenditure”. Now, let’s begin the budget analysis in earnest.
The Federal Ministry of Foreign & Intergovernmental Affairs—HQTRS has a total budget of 13,424,797,653; 7,341,201,695 will be for “Recurrent Expenditure” while 6,083,595,958 for capital. Firstly, let me state categorically, that the Ministry is competing with the Presidency on who “Shits” more—yes, you heard me right, who uses the toilet more. They plan to spend 6,989,638 for “Sewage Charges” almost same amount the entire State House will spend on the same thing, which is 6,801,826. Shit is expensive; you’ll find out in this budget.
The Ministry of Foreign & Intergovernmental Affairs plans to spend 203,273,602 on “Drugs and Medical Supplies”. Health is a very serious issue; like the saying goes “Health is wealth”. But let’s compare this budget with that of the Intercountry Centre for Oral Health with a total budget of 145,575,193 or 68,984,450 for Noma Children Hospital in Sokoto all under the Health Ministry. You get the point?
The Ministry of Foreign and Intergovernmental Affairs also plans to spend 4,052,024,936 on “Research and Development”. Let’s compare this with the budget for the National Centre for Disease Control. With the outbreak of Lassa Fever and the over 40 deaths recorded, coupled with the fact that our neighbours still grapple with the Ebola Virus and the Bird Flu outbreak in some states in the North, you would expect the government to be proactive and equip the NCDC to be able to tackle all these, but guess what they have as a budget? 450,193,627.
Guess how much they’ll spend on “Research and Development”? Nothing! They don’t even have a website. But on the other hand, this government feels the Foreign affairs Ministry should spend over four billion on “Research and Development”. What “Research” will the Ministry of Foreign Affairs carry out that will be more important than the NCDC? What do they plan to “develop”? These are questions we should ask, questions I’m using this medium to ask, and questions I know I won’t get answers to, because the people up there do not really care.
To them it is a sharing bazaar. As I await the “intellectuals” who will be tempted to say things like “Foreign policy research”, let me pre-empt them by pointing them to the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies which has a budget of 294,460,000 meant for “Research and Development”.
Let me end this paragraph by letting you know that the 4,052,024,936 budgeted by the Ministry of Foreign & Intergovernmental Affairs just for “Research and Development” is more than the budget for the Police Service Commission, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Code of Conduct Bureau or alternatively can electrify over 172 communities spread across 12 states if figures in the National Rural Electrification Agency budget are anything to go by.
The Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs also plan on spending 3,600,000,000 to “Post Ambassadors and Officers”, that is about 30,000,000 per Ambassador/Mission.
This is my second look at the budget of the Federal Ministry of Foreign and Intergovernmental Affairs. The first time, all I did was skim through, and I didn’t really see anything wrong, suspicious or out of place in it. This second look reveals just enough to show that when people in government are hell bent on looking for ways to corruptly enrich themselves, they find some really creative ways to do so. The 4,052,024,936 budgeted for “Research and Development” is a typical example of one of the creative ways—and to be honest, it is simply an insult to the millions of Nigerians who live on less than 1$ (now 300) a day.
We have come to the end of the third part of this series. And as I leave you to make rational deductions from this analysis, let me add a little extra for you: The Nigerian Foreign Mission in Windhoek (Namibia) will spend 50,000,000 for the “Construction of Nigeria House and Furnishing” while our Mission in Vienna (Austria) will spend 40,000,000 for the “Rehabilitation of Chancery Roof” Chancery is just a synonym for the office of the embassy by the way. Have a wonderful day!
Saatah Nubari is on Twitter @Saatah