The House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics, and Values has drawn the attention of President Tinubu over the absence of budgetary allocations for the Nigerian Press Council and the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (ARCON) in the 2024 budget proposal.
Fatoba Olusola (APC-Ekiti State), the Chairman of the Committee on Information, National Orientation, Values and Ethics, raised concerns about the meagre budgetary provision for the Ministry of Information, Orientation and its agencies during the budget defence session with the Ministry and its Agencies on Tuesday called for an upward revision of the budget to enable the Ministry to fulfil its mandate effectively.
Fatoba expressed surprise at the total capital budget of the Ministry and its agencies, amounting to approximately N2.95 billion, saying the amount is insufficient given the crucial role that the media and information ministry play in the country.
Fatoba expressed disappointment in the zero budget allocation for two agencies within the ministry – the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Press Council, which oversees media houses, both local and international, within the country.
He worried about the ability of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to effectively disseminate information to the public about government policies, especially in combating the spread of fake news. He emphasized that the NOA, with less than N200 million in its capital budget, faces challenges in fulfilling its crucial role.
“Their budget during the presentation surprised us, the committee in charge of the Ministry and its agencies. Realize the total capital budget accruing to the whole Ministry and its agencies for the year 2024 is within N2.95 billion, which is a very low budget considering the role the media and information ministry play in this country.”
“When you give these two agencies zero budget and expect them to be revenue-driven by running after the people they regulate to get funds, it is not the right thing,” he said.
Fatoba urged President Buhari to ensure funding for these agencies and other low-budget entities within the ministry to implement the renewed hope agenda and make a tangible impact on the people.