ICT GETS LOW ALLOCATION IN 2012 BUDGET
By Prince Osuagwu
LAGOS - As President Goodluck Jonathan, Tuesday, presented the 2012 draft budget to the National Assembly, it seems as if the country is yet to fully believe that the potentials of ICT is enough to lift every other sector of the economy.
This is considering that the Communications Technology Ministry, which the president himself created barely six months ago, could not get the kind of allocation that shows government's readiness to use ICT to transform other sectors as many other countries of the world are doing.
In the budget, the Communications Technology sector would receive a total allocation of N18.31 billion, while the Ministry of Science and Technology would receive N30.84 billion.
Ironically, these figures represent a sharp drop from the 2011 budget where the Ministry of Information and Communication received a total budget allocation of N30.39 billion while the Ministry of Science and Technology was allocated N48.73 billion.
Even in the 2011 budget, a good number of ICT professionals criticised the low budget allocated to Information and Communications Technology.
Meanwhile, going by 2012 figures, Jonathan dropped the new ministry's budget by N12.08 billion while that of the Ministry of Science and Tech was reduced by N17.89 billion and this does not show the hunger to make ICT a strong pillar to the attainment of Vision 20-2020.
Incidentally, the president in his budget allocated about N921.91 billion to Security, N400.15 billion to Education, N180.8 billion to Works, N282.77 billion to Health and about N161.42 billion to Power.
Although all these other sectors which allocation dwarf that of the Communications Technology and the Science and Tech Ministry put together, actually need a face lift, the mistake the government seems to be making is neglecting the fact that in this 21st century it is only ICT that can easily transform them with a lightening speed.