During last budget defence, lawmakers were stunned that the Foreign Ministry spends much more above the approved amounts for paying school fees. Ministries, departments and parastatals are facing lawmakers for the annual budget defence during which shocking revelations of government’s bogus spending usually emerge, meeting with lawmakers’ short-lived criticisms.
Nnena Elendu- Ukeje, the head of the House of Representatives foreign affairs committee on yesterday expressed shock at the huge bill the foreign affairs ministry spends annually on school fees.
The N4.8 billion paid by the foreign ministry for the education of its workers’ children in 2011 was far above the approved allocation for the purpose.
The amounts foot the fees of children of ambassadors and other diplomatic staff in the nearly 200 missions run by Nigeria across the world.
Although the foreign affairs ministry proposed to spend N5.2 million for the same purpose this year lawmakers believe ‘it will be raised after appropriation’.
Lawmakers said ministry officials have been presenting such fees and other expenditures of the ministry in bulk without details, names of beneficiaries, thereby allowing officials a freehand to later adjust the approved figures, and spend same unilaterally.
When queried about the N2 billion the foreign ministry budgeted to spend on transport and travels in 2012, the foreign affairs minister, Olugbenga Ashiru responded by saying;
“We travel to get the best. You need to get well-trained diplomats. Without training, you will not get good diplomats. Without training, there will be no results. We send some of them to Oxford, some to Italy as they will be competing with the best from the world.”
Courtesy Premium Times Nigeria