By Johnny Edward.
Some stakeholders have faulted the sports ministry for budgeting a staggering N1,480,971,399bn in the 2023 appropriation budget to cater for refreshments, meals, settlement of honorarium, sitting allowances, publicity, welfare packages, and other miscellaneous, The PUNCH reports.
Our correspondent learnt that the amount is part of the N193,418,082,888bn allocated to the sports ministry from the N21.83trn bill passed by the National Assembly and signed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The breakdown of the amount showed that N26,156,222m was allocated to refreshments and meals, while N140,668,563m would be spent on welfare packages.
According to the documents sourced from the Budget Office of the Federation, the allocation for the ministry, excluding the four agencies under its control, stood at N8,906,051,356bn.
The document further explained that while the total personnel cost stood at N2.008bn, total overhead is N2.232bn and total capital N4.664bn, amounting to N8,906,051,356bn total allocation for the ministry.
The ministry also earmarked N20.579m for honorarium and sitting allowances, N2.3m for postage and courier services, N4.704m for medical, N10.209m for subscription to professional bodies, N71.698m for monitoring activities and follow up, while N1,126,625,961bn has been allotted for sporting activities and other miscellaneous expenses.
Speaking with The PUNCH, the Special Adviser on Information Management and Strategy to Gombe State Governor, Shuaib Gara-Gombe said he was disappointed that such an amount was assigned to cater for refreshments, meals, settlement of honorarium, and other miscellaneous expenses.
“Its a shame that such amount of money was allocated for issues of lesser concerns, but I’m not surprised because this is the same ministry that budgeted N80m for the cutting of grass at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja,” Gombe said.
“It is unfortunate that the ministry has not made plans to offset the outstanding bonuses of respective national team players they owe. The Flamingoes are yet to be paid their bonuses after they won bronze at the U-17 Women’s World Cup in India. The ministry has shown us that they lack proper planning.”
Former Super Eagles assistant coach, Emmanuel Amuneke, also believes the amount is ridiculous.
“It’s ridiculous but what do we do. That’s where we find ourselves. It’s just sad.”