2022 Budget: Reps decry low budgetary allocation for Foreign Ministry’s agencies

House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has expressed surprise over low budget allocated for capital projects in agencies under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Chairman of the committee, Rt. Hon.( Dr.) Yusuf Buba Yakub, said that the various sums allocated to capital costs in the 2022 Budget proposals for the agencies and departments under the ministry are meagre and, therefore, appear insensitive to the challenges faced by those institutions.

He made the observation during the defence of the 2022 Budget proposals of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and the Foreign Service Academy ( FSA).

This was made known in a statement by Nkem Anyata-Lafia, Special Adviser to the Committee Chairman on Media and Public Affairs in Abuja.

The chairman called on the Federal Government, the Budget Office as well as other agencies of government that are in-charge of budgeting and fund allocation to MDAs to demonstrate a true intention for the development of the institutions under review by allocating to them reasonable sums that would make for concrete development in the institutions.

He decried the sums of less than N30 million and N20 million allocated to the NIIA and Foreign Service Academy respectively, in respect of their capital budgets for the fiscal year 2022.

He wondered what in today’s value of the naira could be achieved in an elitist, internationally renowned research institute, like the NIIA, and the Foreign Service Academy, which is the breeding ground for our nation’s diplomats-in-training.

“As a committee and, indeed, as a oarliament, we call on those in-charge of these budget and fund allocation processes to improve the lot of these two institutions, if we are seriously putting any expectations before them.

“These sums in the budget proposals for capital expenditure in the coming year,to us,are simply insensitive to the challenges on ground and cannot guarantee any of the tall ambitions and dreams of the institutions.

“Again,the issue of such ceilings placed on budget proposals by the ministries cannot guarantee anything near what these institutions have the capacity to achieve; except,of course,we choose that these institutions exist the way they are and continue to pay just salaries,” he said.

Earlier, the Director General of the NIIA, Prof. Eghosa Osaghae, who went down memory lane to recapture the noble ideals for the establishment of the Institute in 1961, lamented the fate that has befallen the once-glorious Institute, while pointing out that the noble ambitions for it in the years ahead by the present management were being sabotaged by paucity of funds.

He said the sum of over N700 million that management had sent in for consideration in respect of capital expenditure for 2022 had come back to them as about N37 million.

He solicited the support of the committee to change the narrative at the Institute.

Also speaking, Director of the Foreign Service Academy, Ogunyemi Franklin Abiola, highlighted the numerous dreams his team has for the training institution.

He noted that there was so much structural dilapidation in the academy and called for support to make the organisation a conducive place to learning and habitation.

He also regretted that in spite of being barely five months in his new office, he has only got a budget allocation of N20 million for capital expenditure in the 2022 Budget proposal.

He, equally, called for the support of the committee to facilitate improvement on the current budget proposal.

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