The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that a total of N13.395bn has been approved for the settlement of debts incurred by the nation’s foreign missions.
Another N1.3bn was approved for the posting of ambassadors in 2013, while the sum of N3bn was earmarked for the upgrading of the country’s mission house in New York, United States.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, told the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs on Monday that even though the entire amount was approved by President Goodluck Jonathan, the Ministry of Finance had reduced it to N13bn, leaving a shortfall of N395m.
He said the envelop system had grossly affected its aspirations to perform its responsibilities in the international scene, and called on the committee to intervene in improving the ministry’s budget.
Ashiru said a total of N47bn was earmarked for the ministry in 2013, even though it had proposed N103bn to execute its diplomatic assignments.
He said the cut in the amount proposed would grossly affect the performance of the ministry in the area of foreign affairs.
The minister said, “In the draft 2013 budget presented to this distinguished National Assembly by Mr. President, the Budget Office of the Federation and Federal Ministry of Finance inadvertently omitted he entire budget proposals for the following three Nigerian missions and agency: Budapest, Pretoria, Istanbul and the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs.
“Besides the omission of the missions mentioned above, there are other missions that do not have 2013 overhead budget provisions, though they have personnel budgets. It would be appreciated if the 2013 overhead is provided for them.”