By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
The Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Edem Duke, has disclosed that the sum of N25 billion is needed by the ministry to fully implement the Nigeria’s Tourism Master Plan.
Speaking yesterday during the 2014 budget defence before the Senate Committee, Duke said implementation of the Tourism Master Plan is essential for effective development of the nation’s tourism potentials, to create revenue and jobs for government and the people.
“We need about N25 billion to effectively implement the Tourism Master plan. But the non allocation of funds had stalled this crucial project. By the budget being virtually doubled, this year we are looking at a budget of N331 million for 2014 for the implementation of the Tourism Master plan.
“If this amount (N331) is made available annually, we would be able to commence the effective implementation of the Tourism Master plan,” he said.
The minister also disclosed that the Ministry intended to pay attention to the promotion of heritage festivals that hold in various parts of the country.
According to him, “the cultural festivals deserve to be given the necessary support as part of government’s effort to boost the sector. I view its role as key to national integration. We have to support these cultural festivals so that cultural custodians will see the support as encouragement to the deployment of culture as a tool for national integration”.
Speaking further, he said the Ministry would open cultural centres in Trinidad and Tobago and South Africa in the second quarter of 2014, as a measure to develop Nigerian tourism.
Meanwhile, the Ministry presented an estimate of N2.5 billion in 2014 budget, out which N1.3 is for capital expenditure.
N528.1 million was proposed for overhead cost while N587.4 million would cover personnel cost.