2017 Budget: Again, Nigeria fails to meet UN benchmark on education

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu Credit: Punchng

Nigeria’s education sector has again received much lower than the 26 percent of national budget, as recommended by the United Nations.

In the 2017 budget proposals presented Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari, N448.01billion was allocated to education, representing about 6 percent of the N7.30 trillion budget, contrary to the recommendation by UNESCO.

The global organisation recommended the budgetary benchmark to enable nations adequately cater for rising education demands.

Out of the sum earmarked for the sector, N398.01billion was allocated to recurrent expenditure and the balance of N50billion allocated to capital projects.

Recent allocations by the federal government to education have shown marginal yearly increases however, except for the N367.73 billion (6.01 percent) in 2016 which saw a decrease from the allocations for the preceding years.

The figures include N492.34billion in 2015, N493billion in 2014 and N426.53billion in 2013. The allocations were N400.15billion in 2012, N306.3billion in 2011 and N249.086billion in 2010.

The situation is not much different in the states. In 2016, 33 states of the federation had allocated N653.53 billion (10.70percent) of their combined total budget estimates of N6.1 trillion to education.

Recently, the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities went on strike to demand increased budgetary allocation to the education sector.

The demand was in reaction to the poor state of facilities in public universities across the country, with some of the institutions even defaulting in salary payment.

Earlier this year, most of the federal universities in the South-west of Nigeria were shut down by workers citing decrepit facilities and generally poor learning environment.

To underscore the situation, no Nigerian university is ranked among the top 800 in the world or among the top 10 in Africa.

Although the Nigerian Government has continued to state its commitment to the education sector, a comparative analysis with budgetary allocations by other countries even in Africa indicated that the government has never put its money where its mouth is.

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