“Madam, Sit in Your Office”: Trade Minister Proposes to Spend N1bn on Geneva Trip, Oshiomhole Fumes
Senator Adams Oshiomhole has tackled the Minister of Trade, Industry, and Investment, Doris Nkiruka-Anite Uzoka, over her budget on a trip to Geneva
According to the budget, her ministry earmarked N1 billion for a trip to Switzerland’s capital
The former Edo state governor described it as a waste of resources while urging her to focus on local experts to carry out the activities in the ministry
FCT, Abuja – Senators expressed disapproval on Tuesday, December 12 regarding the Ministry of Trade and Investment’s proposed N1 billion budget for a trip to Geneva.
The Minister of Trade, Industry, and Investment, Doris Nkiruka-Anite Uzoka, revealed the budgetary details during her defence of the 2024 Budget before the Senate Committee on Trade.
In response, former Edo State Governor and Senator representing Edo North, Adams Oshiomhole, criticised the proposed budget as excessive and misused public funds.
Oshiomhole urged the Minister to abandon the Geneva trip and utilise experts within her Ministry instead.
As reported by Vanguard, he said:
“I see that you intend to travel to Geneva next year and you have budgeted over one billion Naira for that. “We can’t keep going on with over-bloated teams on abroad trips. Use the experts we have in your offices in that country to save cost.”
Oshiomhole’s allegation against trade minister
He also accused the Minister of frequently neglecting her responsibilities and being consistently absent from her desk, alleging frequent visits to the Bank of Industry.
“Madam, sit in your office and work for Nigerians. I have gone there twice. You are always in the BOI. If you preferred BOI, you should have declined the President’s nomination to be Minister, Premium Times quoted.
Oshiomhole raised concerns about Nigeria’s trade balance with other countries, pointing out that the Ministry lacked a comprehensive record of such transactions.
“What is our balance of trade? Especially with China. Those countries importing things to Nigeria are expected to build factories in Nigeria. We have to take advantage of our population to grow our industries.”
Despite the Minister’s commitment to promoting economic growth, job creation, and wealth generation, Oshiomhole insisted that crucial trade data was available at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), and other agencies, which the Ministry had failed to access.
During her presentation, the Minister emphasised the Ministry’s dedication to achieving its vision, including promoting economic growth, creating jobs, generating wealth, attracting foreign direct investments, boosting industrialisation, increasing trade and exports, and encouraging enterprise development.
She also mentioned the ongoing implementation of strategic policies and programs aimed at economic recovery, growth, employment generation, and wealth creation for Nigerians.