A former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, has pledged to devote 21 per cent of federal budget to education if elected president in 2019.
Mr Abubakar, who seeks to be president on the platform of the opposition party, PDP, said this in response to the feat by Apple Inc which became the first private company in the world to be worth $1 trillion on Thursday.
In an opinion article published in THISDAY newspapers, Mr Abubakar, a businessman, said knowledge is the main raw material for the founding, development and success story of Apple Inc.
In the article titled “What Nigeria Can Learn From Apple’s Trillion Dollar Status”, Mr Abubakar said he will meet and exceed the United Nations international benchmark for education budget.
“I pledge that if I am chosen by my party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to be its Presidential candidate, and if I am subsequently elected President by Nigerians, I will go above and beyond the United Nations recommendations and ensure that a minimum of 21% of the federal budget is devoted to education,” he said.
Meanwhile the international benchmark as recommended by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is that four per cent to six per cent of a country’s GDP or 15 per cent to 20 per cent of a country’s (government) budget should be allocated to education.
The federal government in its proposed 2018 budget allocated only 7.04 per cent of the 8.6 trillion 2018 budget to the education sector.
The total sum allocated to the education sector is N605.8 billion, with N435.1 billion for recurrent expenditure, N61.73 billion for capital expenditure and N109.06 billion for the Universal Basic Education Commission.
The 2018 allocation is also lower than the 7.4 per cent the government gave the education sector in the N7.4 trillion 2017 budget.
The National Assembly in May passed the 2018 Appropriation Bill of N9.1 trillion for the 2018 fiscal year, representing an increase of N508 billion from the N8.612 trillion proposal presented to the joint National Assembly by the president late last year.