The Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism has observed the need to amend the existing law setting up the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) as well as other agencies in the culture sector to enable them to function maximally.
Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture & Tourism, Senator Matthew Urhoghide made this known recently when he led members of the committee on an oversight function visit to the Institute’s Head Office in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
According to him, most agencies of government just exist without adding value to the revenue base of the country largely because of limitations from their structures, even when they had huge potentials to drive the nation, saying the Committee was up to its constitutional responsibility to effect some changes, repel, enact or amend the acts setting up these agencies.
His words: “We are here not just because of budget or to access budget performance but for us to be able to ascertain your structure and know the challenges limiting your maximum functionality. More importantly, as a legislature, it is also our responsibility to be able to put the laws together that will enable you to function maximally”.”
Continuing, he said: “In almost all our interactions so far, we have seen that many agencies of government just exist even though they have the huge potentials of adding to the revenue base of this country and by extension the GDP. But you will find out that many of them because of their subsisting acts now or laws, they are not functioning maximally and that is why we are telling them please whatever kind of act you have and the shortfalls therein, they can bring them to the committee so that we would be able to assist them to get a more contemporary legal framework for their existence”.”
He maintained that the agencies of government under the culture and tourism sector were huge assets that can be turned around to earn revenue for the country, stressing that they need to get closer to the committee to enable them ascertain their needs and know what necessary actions to take.
“The culture and tourism sector has a huge potential for government to derive huge revenue and we are asking them why is it that they are not operating within the confines of contemporary happenings so that they can also be able to derive revenue? What we can get from culture and tourism could be as huge as oil and of course we know our diversity in this country and our cultures that are natural to us, we believe these are things that these agencies by nature of their mandates needs to work with and if there is anything, they are the ones to be able to tell us the areas they are having problems.”
“Our own is to make the laws for them. We have seen that there is a short fall in the act setting them up which is limiting their functionality so the need to come to us so that we can take up with the act against the backdrop of their job description or what they do so that we will be able to see how we can weave around it and how we can change some of the laws; repeal or enact new once or do an amendment so that they too can come up”.”
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of NICO, Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma expressed the hope that with constant interface with the Committee, the Institute can overcome some of the challenges it is facing.
To him, the level to which an agency or a person can perform is dependent on the level to which they are supported and with the support coming from the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Parastatals under the sector would be better positioned to perform.
The Senate Committee Chairman was accompanied by the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Ahmed Abubakar; Senator Babajide Omoworare as well as the Clerk to the Committee, Mr. Abbass Mohammed, among others.
On the side of NICO, other Management Staff present included the Director of Orientation & Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie; Acting Director of Administration & Human Resources, Alhaji Ibrahim Hussein; Acting Director of Research & Documentation, Mr. Mike Ekoko; Deputy Director/SA to ES, Mr. Law Ikkay Ezeh; Head of Finance & Accounts, Mr. Herbert Ogbe; Asst Director of Administration & Human Resources, Mrs. Jane Anigala; and Asst Director of Orientation, Mrs. Francisca Okoro, among others.
Corporate Affairs Unit