The 2019 edition of Abuja cultural carnival will gulp N82.109 million, Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said.
The yearly carnival meant to showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage is coordinated by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism.
The minister said that Cultural Centres established by Nigeria in China and Brazil were good for marketing the image of the country to further make the outside world appreciate Nigeria and Nigerians better.
Mohammed stated these on Tuesday in Abuja while making presentation on 2019 budget proposals of his Ministry.
Apart from the presentation, the minister also defended the 2019 budget estimates before the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Fatimah Raji –Rasaki, had taken on the minister on the N82million proposed for the Abuja Cultural Carnival 2019 when the carnival did not hold last year despite N62 million appropriated for it.
The Minister responded that the N62million appropriated for the carnival in 2018 was not fully cash backed.
He noted that besides, the fund was lumped together with other items on capital component of the budget which were not adequately funded.
He said: “Money for cultural carnival of national magnitude ordinarily, should even be more than N82million but because of synergy the ministry is having with the Federal Capital Territory and other sponsors in terms of accommodation for participants from the various states, feeding, transportation, make us to make modest proposal of N82million.”
Mohammed said that the Cultural Centres established by the Federal Government in China and Brazil which had budgetary allocation of N25million in 2018 and N35million proposal for 2019, were necessary for positive projection of the country’s image abroad.
He said: “Cultural Centres are meant for foreign image of the country. They promote tourism and even the economy of the owner country
“Though not revenue generating centres, but in the long run, they add value to the economy and citizens of countries that established them.”
The Minister noted the total budgetary proposals for the two arms of the Ministry (Information, Culture and Tourism) in the 2019 fiscal year, is N5.306billion out which N3.398billion is for personnel cost, N880.507million for overhead and N1.3billion for capital expenditure of both arms .
He said that due to the N200m that was removed from the overhead cost of the Ministry in the 2018 budget allocations and N1billion removed from capital votes, the Ministry is highly indebted to many of its service providers particularly electricity .