The Federal Government says it is working on giving Nigerians a new Diaspora policy within the next three weeks.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed this at a budget defence of the Nigeria Diaspora Commission before the House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Matters.
He however lamented the meagre allocation of N143 million to the Commission in the 2021 budget estimate.
The Minister, who was represented by his Minister of State, Zubairu Dada, said: “I want to assure you that in three weeks’ time, the Federal government will come out with a Diaspora Policy”.
Giving details of the performance of the 2020 budget, Onyeama said the commission was allocated a personnel cost of N247million with about N206,640 released as at October with a balance of N41,328, 948, 50.
He said further out of the N27,076, 094million released for over head cost, only N22.5m has been accessed and utilised, while out of the N100m budgeted for capital, only N53 million was released, with N52m utilized, leaving a balance, N623,000.
He disclosed that rather than increasing the Commission’s personal budget for 2021, it was reduced from to N143, 795, 80million the N247million submitted to the Budget Office of the Federation.
“We made a proposal of over N247m, but from the observation, it will appear there was a mistake somewhere down the line. we are not aware of any retrenchment at Nidcom. we can’t seem to explain how this figure came about”, the Minister told the Committee,” he said.
The Minister said even though the Commission has a lot of work that would require them travel, it was given zero allocation for international and local travels.
Chairman of the Commission Abike Dabiri-Erewa, told the lawmakers: “There is no provision for office, in the budget; even with the initial budget(of 2020), there was none”.
Chairman of the Diaspora Committee, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe, assured the Commission the lawmakers will make sure the budget of the commission is increased even above their proposal of N247million for personnel so that the agency can employ more staff and be more efficient.