BY MAYOWA SAMUEL
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has lamented the poor yearly budgetary allocation to his ministry, stating that it is crippling the war against fake news, disinformation and hate speech.
Mohammed stated this on Tuesday as he appeared before the Senate Committee on Information to defend his ministry’s 2023 budget proposal, saying his ministry requires adequate funding to fight fake news, disinformation and hate speech.
“If there is any ministry that should be adequately funded and not suffer from yearly budget cuts, it is the Information Ministry.
He said, “The terror alert raised by America and some other countries against Nigeria though debunked, is not properly done in terms of putting things in proper context in preventing wrong perception from becoming reality.
“The ministry is even more incapacitated from discharging its basic functions of getting Nigerians informed at all times as regards position of government on burning issues due to yearly budgetary cuts.
“Distinguished senators, I’m extremely sad as far as yearly budgetary cuts are concerned because it is getting worse and worse by the day.
“A worrisome example of this is that while the Information Ministry was given N2.5billion for capital expenditure in 2022, one third of it which is N869 million is earmarked for similar purpose in 2023 fiscal year.
“This is to us in the ministry very depressing because it seems as if we are the main agency bearing the burden of cash crunch being faced by government,” he said.
But the Chairman of the Committee, Danladi Sankara, however told the minister that yearly budget cuts are not limited to the Information Ministry but all MDAs since the capital vote component of the federal budget itself dropped from N2.5trillion to N1trillion.
However, a member of the Committee, Ibrahim Abdullahi Danbaba, assured him that budgetary provision will be made available for the ministry on advocacy for the 2023 general elections.