THE Minister of Information, Labaran Maku explained Monday in Abuja that paucity of fund has been delaying completion of the Federal Government Printing Press in Asokoro, Abuja.
Maku made the disclosure while speaking to newsmen during an interactive session with staff and management of the Ministry of Information.
He said the money appropriated for the project in the 2012 budget could not be accessed by the ministry, noting that efforts were being made to address the challenge.
He said the printing press had been captured in the priority list of the ministry’s projects for 2013 and gave the assurance that action would be expedited on the project.
“Unfortunately last year, the funding that came could not be operated and the money was taken back,’’ he said.
``We even asked if that line item could remain but we have not been able to do so because of budgetary problems, hopefully this year, we will put in our last kobo again, to ensure that the government printing press in Asokoro is ready.
``We will work on it, it is our priority for this year; that has been the situation, we have had funding problems but we are getting over it.’’
On posting of information officers to Nigeria’s foreign missions, Maku said that President Goodluck Jonathan had given approval for the reopening of Nigeria’s foreign information centres.
He said that paucity fund had again stalled posting to the centres.
Maku said planned reopening of the offices was in the interest of Nigeria’s image, adding that officers would be posted there after the required funds must have been accessed.
``We need foreign officers, information officers in all the key embassies abroad; if we send our foreign officers abroad the task of managing the image of our country abroad will be their daily responsibility,’’ he said.
He said the officers would also write on investment opportunities in Nigeria, as well as counter any negative comment about Nigeria in the foreign media.
``The President has already approved it, all that we are waiting for is the appropriate funding, I believe that in the next one or two years we will have posted our men and women to strategic foreign missions, ’’ he said.
Maku said that the ministry had also made a request for additional funding of its publicity activities from the SURE-P fund.
He said that some of the ministry’s programmes were not being fully implemented due to poor funding.
Maku gave the assurance that the management was taking steps to improve the working environment and provide the necessary tools to boost productivity.
NAN reports that the new Permanent Secretary, Mrs Shade Esan, and directors in the ministry, attended the meeting.