Leke Baiyewu, Abuja
The House of Representatives is considering allowing Nigerian embassies, high commissions and other foreign missions to share in the revenues they generate for the Federal Government.
After unanimously adopting a motion to that effect at the plenary on Tuesday, the House proposed the introduction of a bill seeking to empower foreign missions to spend part of the revenues they generate to be able to function efficiently and effectively.
The Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, asked the sponsor of the motion, Mr Buba Yakub, to consider sponsoring a bill to give such powers to the foreign missions just like other revenue-generating agencies and parastatals like the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Yakub had moved a motion entitled, ‘Urgent Need for the House to Save Our Nation the Embarrassment Emanating from Our Missions Abroad by Evaluating the Status of these Missions and Acting Promptly.’
He said, “Nigeria has over 100 of such missions scattered across all parts of the world, housing several staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Interior and others, who are engaged in several aspects of diplomatic, economic, security and consular duties.
“And that it is part of the statutory mandate of this House: to, among other responsibilities, make annual budgetary provisions for all the aforementioned missions and to undertake oversight functions on them.”
Adopting the motion, the House unanimously called on the Federal Government “to allow each of the missions abroad to partake of the revenue generated from activities within its domain; these include visa and passport issuance fees and others. This will, no doubt, enhance the work environment of the missions and make for a positive change in their outlook.”
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Diaspora Affairs has called on the Federal Government, through the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to allocate more funds to the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission for better efficiency.
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubairu Dada; and the Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, stated this on Tuesday when they appeared before the committee over the 2020 budget proposed by the ministry.
Responding to the series of questions posed by the lawmakers, Dada said, “Talking about interventions from outside, there is none. We rely on the Federal Government of Nigeria for all our needs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is too sensitive a ministry to rely on foreign funds.
“As for allocation of funds for the performance of consular duties, I want to say we are indeed most grateful if there is any such intervention on behalf of our ministry – to increase funding for consular functions.”