Senator advices Buhari to sell "useless" NTA, VON, FRCN

Senator Ben Murray-Bruce said VON, NTA, FRCN have become a ‘burden’ to the federal government.

The agencies include; National Orientation Agency (NOA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Voice of Nigeria (VON) amongst others.

Speaking during the 2018 budget debate on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, Bruce said these agencies have become a ‘burden’ to the federal government.

The lawmaker also expressed concerns over the 'over-bloated' nature of the budget of some ministries, departments and agencies of government.

His words: “If you look at the budget from 1960 to the present, you have agencies that were designed for 1960. Agencies that were designed for the Nigerian civil war and agencies that were designed to suit some certain conditions in life. Sixty years later, those agencies still exist in the budget.

"If you look at the budget, you will see some agencies, they get recurrent expenditure, they pay salaries, they get houses, computers, cars but they have no money to do any work. No money to do any work, we pay salaries. Some agencies are so bloated it defies logic but these agencies exist. So, we have 2.4 million people consuming 60percent of the recurrent expenditure of Nigeria, it doesn't make any sense.

"I called President Obasanjo on phone two days ago and he said to me; the National Orientation Agency was necessary when we had no political party, what is the value of the National Orientation Agency in today’s world for instance? Yet billions of Naira is spent in that agency.

"Let us look at agencies that make no sense. FRCN sell it to the staff. FRCN has eight thousand workers sell it to them. Sell NTA to the staff, Voice of Nigeria, who listens to Voice of Nigeria? Sell it. If the staff who wants to buy, let them buy it. Set up a cooperative like Awolowo did, sell it to them. They have no use right now. If we spend seventy-one percent on recurrent expenditure, we will never get out of this predicament we find ourselves.

"I sent a letter to the minister of transport and I asked him to send us the contract he has with the Chinese. Let’s say we spend ten billion dollars with the Chinese and they give us a loan what percentage of that money is spent in the local economy? How many Nigerians are employed? Which steel product are we producing locally? The last time I checked, rail lines were produced 300, 400 years ago. It’s not rocket science; we have Ajaokuta Steel.

"So if we have the capability of producing steel or we have the capability in slow motion of making this work as Nigerians, we don’t need to borrow $10 billion from the Chinese and then give them back $10 billion, what do we benefit in our economy?

"The United Nations projected that in February 2018, Nigeria will have more people in poverty than in India. We have a population of 180 million people; India has 1.3 billion. Then, if we are going to have more people in poverty than India, then we have to create jobs. Once we create jobs we can then export our Naira to China, to India or some other place.

The Bayelsa state lawmaker described the 2018 budget as a product of ‘active imagination.’

“We have downgraded our economy and the reason we are downgraded is we cannot meet our revenue projections is understood that this is a budget of consolidation; I would rather describe it as a budget of active imagination," he added.

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