WHOEVER says talk is cheap has not seen details of the Federal Government’s budget for next year.
The government is to spend N11 billion to host the national dialogue and the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Abuja.
This figure is contained in the details of the 2014 budget breakdown, which states that N7 billion is to be spent on the national dialogue.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on January 18, 2005, requested the approval of N932 million to fund a three-month National Political Reform Conference scheduled to begin mid-February of the same year.
In the breakdown, Obasanjo said delegates would earn N21.68million as sitting allowance and N650. 25 million as allowances in lieu of accommodation. Also included was N1.7million for return tickets from London, Washington, Beijing and Johannesburg, in addition to N28,800 for return flights to Abuja for the inaugural session and subsequent conference meetings.
Delegates, he noted, would be given N14,400 for airport taxi and local transportation within Abuja. There was provision for, at least, two CVU long wheel cars to be hired and fuelled at N2.9 million.
However, in the case of the Dr. Jonathan administration’s national dialogue, there is no breakdown of how the N 7 billion will be spent.
Besides, N4 billion is to be spent on hosting the WEF in Abuja.