OrderPaperToday – The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed on Tuesday argued that the government is not at fault for the poor budgetary release that has characterised the 2017 budget and rather blamed a shortfall in revenue.

The Minister made the assertion while addressing journalists shortly after he presented his Ministry’s 2018 budget before the Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism.

He said: “The big picture is that this country has just come out of recession. It is not that the government is deliberately withholding releases. You make a budget on certain assumptions but if for instance, the price or production of crude fails to reach the set target due to certain difficulties, it will affect receipt (and release of funds).”

He added that “It is not that the government is deliberately starving us but it is the reality that we don’t have enough funds.”

Earlier during his budget presentation, the Minister revealed that Nigeria’s culture sector generated a meagre five hundred thousand naira for the year 2017.

He however discussed steps taken by the current administration to boost the culture and tourism sector.

“Anyone who has been observing what has been happening in the creative industry as a whole – culture, film industry, and fashion will notice that there has been a marked improvement because the government has provided the enabling environment,” Lai Mohammed said.

He further disclosed that investors that plunge significant funds into the creative industry will be incentivized with a “tax holiday” for an initial period of three years.

A break-down of the Ministry of Information and Culture budget for 2018 shows that the sum of N3,180,947,378 is allocated for personnel costs while overhead cost is expected to gulp N880,507,008.

For capital expenditure, a total sum of N810,510,582 was proposed for the culture sector while the sum of N496,678,615 was proposed for both information and culture out of the total budgeted sum of N2,606,551,260.

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