The Afenifere Renewal Group says federal government is insensitive to the needs of the education sector.
The Afenifere Renewal Group has berated the federal government over their “insensitivity” to the education sector.
In a statement signed by Kunle Famoriyo, the group’s Publicity Secretary, the Yoruba socio-political body urged the National Assembly to activate its oversight functions and unravel the reason for discrepancy between budgetary allocation and policy implementation in the sector.
“We want to point out that federal government has never taken any conscious step to drive growth in our tertiary education system and the little improvement since 1999 is attributable to forced action from strikes. Is strike the only way to get government’s attention?” asked the group.
The industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has entered its seventh week.
The union is protesting the non-implementation of the agreement it reached with the federal government over the funding of Nigerian universities.
The Afenifere group said that the “simple task” of implementing the 2009 agreement is now difficult for the government.
“How can we make progressive development as a nation if each administration keeps bringing new policies at the expiration of one?
“Part of that agreement provides for progressive increase of annual budgetary allocation to education up to 26 per cent between 2009 and 2020.
“To annually increase budgetary allocation to education is difficult for a government that has been faithful in implementing the Multi Year Tariff Order, which stipulated that electricity tariff should be increased annually as from 2012 till 2016.
“It makes no sense that government is increasing electricity tariff and fuel prices and collecting taxes from citizens, whose children it cannot properly educate,” he said.
The group further noted that although the education sector got the highest percentage budgetary allocation in the 2013 Appropriation Act, it had not translated into tangible results in federal tertiary institutions.
“The sector got N367.375 billion for recurrent expenditure, N60.207 billion for capital expenditure. This translates to a total of N427.582 billion representing 7.9% of total budget. In 2012, the sector got a total of N397.378 billion representing 8.5% of total budget.
“Despite these high allocations, the sector has seen no improvement, an evidence of government’s insensitivity to the plight of the people and its ineptitude in managing the nation’s resources for the greater good,” it said.
The group stated that despite primary schools and secondary being the direct responsibilities of local and state governments respectively; the federal government has found it hard to pay lecturers’ salaries.
“Such is the level of neglect of public education that private institutions are cashing in on government’s ineptitude, which also manifested recently when federal government praised itself for improved performances in WASSCE – an accolade that rightly belongs to governors,” it said.