Members of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, of the National Assembly, have reiterated their commitment towards ensuring that the 2012 federal capital appropriations for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), were fully implemented to the benefit of the citizenry.
Hon. Muniru Abiodun Hakeem, who stated this during an oversight function visit to the Abuja head office of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), by the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, said this was necessary as it will help Nigeria achieve its goal of being a viable nation.
He explained that the House was worried over selective implementation of the budget and its consequences on proposed capital projects, and that the Rt. Hon. Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, had directed an oversight function, strictly to cross-check the 2012 capital projects implementation.
According to him: “There is a patriotic move by the House to see that budget is fully implemented; that is why we have come to NICO. It is a fact finding visit to cross-check the 2012 capital budget. The House is insisting that the era of selective implementation of the budget is gone. It does not do us any good as a nation. We are going into the third quarter, yet all the budgetary provisions are not released to the MDAs, to carry out their functions. An institution like NICO is very important to this country. It is really embarrassing the amount being allotted to the Institute. That is why we are making efforts to see that you get the one allotted to enable you carry out your programmes.”
He continued: “For instance, your Kuje Permanent site; we pray it is achieved in this our administration. We are willing to visit the site again and see the progress so far. It is very important to us. We are already speaking to the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Senator Bala Mohammed, for an access road to the site in Kuje. NICO is really doing a lot. I can say that the Nigerian Indigenous Language Programme (NILP) is a pet project, which the ES, Dr. Barclays Ayakoroma, really wants to accomplish. We have more than 250 indigenous languages in Nigeria. So, the fund you are being given for that is not enough. We need to be committed to that programme. Our languages are no more being spoken. The members of this House Committee on Culture and Tourism are ready to give you the support on that programme. Honestly, with what we have seen, we can say NICO has not done poorly. But you have more to do. Part of why we are here today is to know your own capacity to deliver your mandate. We have seen that you are making tremendous efforts. We hope more funds will be released for you to carry on.”
Earlier, the ES had briefed the House Committee members on how the Institute had judiciously spent the amount released so far from the capital budget, saying: “We are handicapped. In most of our programmes, we go begging for funding. So, our programmes have not been taken to the extent we want because of funding. Like NILP, we want to produce audio-visual materials; we want to take it to the Barracks; we want our website to be interactive. The provision is not really satisfying us. We believe it can be better.”
Other members of the visiting team were Hon. Musa Ado and Hon. Idris Kutigi; just as management and staff of NICO were on ground to receive the Honourable Members.