Budget for WTO office is for personnel, overhead — Trade and Investment Ministry

Doris Uzoka-Anite

The Federal Ministry of Trade, Industry and Investments on Wednesday clarified that the N1.6billion earmarked in the 2024 budget for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) office in Geneva was meant to cover the personnel and overhead costs of the staff of the department as well as providing capital for its operation for the year.

A section of the media had reported that over N1 billion was set aside by the minister of trade, industry and investments Doris Uzoka-Anite to cover a trip to Geneva next year when the minister appeared before the National Assembly’s Joint Committee on Trade, Industry and Investment to defend her ministry’s budget.

However, a breakdown of the ministry’s budget on Wednesday showed that out of the total amount, N806,379,820 is to cover personnel cost, N204,058,434 will go for overhead while N600,745,345 will be set aside for capital, which brings their total proposed budget to N1,611,183,599 which the ministry said is in line with the total budget of the Geneva Trade Office published on the Nigerian Budget Office website.

A source disclosed that a memo from the Nigerian ambassador in Geneva had confirmed that the capital expenditure (CAPEX) budgeted for Geneva’s trade office was N93million, saying with the intervention of the minister, it was increased to over N600 million to settle all outstanding debts as contained in the budget quoted in the draft statement.

The breakdown of the proposed budget also showed that apart from the trade office, other departments in the ministry that got allocation included the Federal Ministry of Trade and Industry headquarters, N14.2billion, Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) N4.3 billion, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC) headquarters N749million, and Industrial Training Fund (ITF), N3billion.

Others are the Nigerian Export Promotion Council N1.3 billion, the Nigerian Export Processing Zones Authority N70 billion, the Lagos International Trade Fair N417 million and the Federal Produce Inspection N442 million.