“How can you raise only N620k from culture sector?”, Senate queries Lai Mohammed.

The senate on Tuesday queried Lai Mohammed, minister of information, culture and tourism, over the poor revenue generated from the culture and entertainment industry in 2016 and misappropriation of funds.

At a budget defence session on Tuesday, the senate committee on culture and tourism said that it was unfortunate that the ministry presented only N620,000 as total revenue generated in 2016.

Matthew Urhoghide, chairman, senate committee on culture and tourism, said that the senate was not happy with the revenue.

“Budget is not just about expenditure. No one is talking about revenue. We need revenue profile. Each time you come, only expenditure is mentioned. How can you say is N620,000.00 that was raised by your ministry from the culture sector?

“We must exhaust all the avenues to generate funds internally. We seriously frown at the low and poor IGR. We query it. You must look inward because this is not acceptable.”

Urhoghide also queried the minister for misdirecting funds budgeted for land acquisition saying that the senate budgeted N60m to acquire lands in Lagos, Adamawa and Edo states to establish cultural industries.

He said Mohammed used the money released to acquire lands in only Lagos and Adamawa states, adding that the minister reduced the states to three when the initial budget was supposed to accommodate six states.

In his defence, Mohammed said the problems of proper and full implementation of the budget were due to inadequate appropriation and delay in the release of funds, cumbersome nature of procurement process, and the challenge of partial release of appropriated amount.

He called for the placement of culture and tourism on the residual list, saying that the current structure makes it difficult for the government to regulate the sector.

“There are several challenges/constraints militating against the smooth implementation of the required programmes/projects. Some of these are inadequate appropriation; delay in the release of funds; cumbersome nature of procurement process; partial release of appropriated amount; late passage of Appropriation Act; placement of culture and tourism on the residual list, which has made it difficult to regulate the sector; lack of political will to develop the sector and absence of convention bureau to attract big-time events to Nigeria as a tourism destination,” he said.

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