OrderPaperToday – Senate has approved the 2017 budgets of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, (FRCN) and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
A cumulative sum of N8,199,556,561,184 was approved for these agencies which are under the Ministry of Information and Culture.
The Chairman Senate committee on Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Senator Buhari Abdulfatai (APC, Oyo) read the report of the committee on Thursday.
The breakdown of the approved funds is as follows: N 2,090,000,009,787 for NBC; N1,032, 550,000 for NAN; N2,014,345,000,624 for FRCN and N4,094,179,000,773 for NTA.
The senate also criticized the agencies for the inadequate remittances to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
According to Senator Suleiman Hunkunyi (APC, Kaduna), some of the agencies have hidden accounts where they draw funds.
Hunkunyi said; “We have a responsibility to look up the expenditure profile as compared to their revenue profile. Budget should not be applied for frivolous expenses; we can reduce our foreign dents if we scrutinize agency budgets.
“Part of what each committee must consider is that some of these agencies have hidden accounts which they draw and spend as they wish. We must rise to the responsibility of IGR budget so at the end of the day we would make enough savings; it would help reduce the deficit of the federal government.”
Equally berating NBC and NTA, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP, Abia) said they should be able to fund CFR “especially NBC that charges broadcasting fees and cannot remit anything.”
Senator Bukar Ibrahim (APC, Yobe) also said; “NTA get a lot of adverts and income which is not reflected from their breakdown but in 2017 proposal there is nothing to show we are moving to the digital broadcast in the communication sector.”
The Deputy President of the senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu however ruled in favour of the approval of the funds allocated for the agencies and urged them to “maker efforts to recover monies being owed to them.
“They should not hand up and say that government owes them and cannot operate. They must take measures to collect the money because even radio and TV stations that are privately owned are making money. They have no excuse not to because they even have more facilities and opportunities.”