2019 Budget: See What You Missed While Lawmakers Booed Buhari
Nigeria has continued to show that it is not yet ready to push up its standard of education with the speed needed for real transformation.
A glaring evidence is the continued strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that has now erased every optimism that students will resume again in 2018.
Everything about resumption of university students will be in 2019.
Amidst the strike of the universities' academic staff, President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2019 Budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday.
While he read his budget presentation speech, lawmakers could not let Nigerians pay good attention to what he was saying and so many figures were swallowed up by the booing.
It was an act that received different reactions, but that is a story for another day.
Talking about the education sector, as usual, an allocation was made to the sector that has continued to decline, producing graduates that are not employable.
The total budget for 2019 is 8.83 trillion Naira and out of this amount Recurrent Cost is 4.04 trillion Naira and the education sector got a share from this.
The capital expenditure for the sector has not been announced yet, but an adage in Delta State says "you will know a tree that will grow big from how it was growing as a tender tree".
Of this 4.04 trillion Naira Recurrent Cost, the Ministry of Education will get the 462.24 billion Naira and this will take care of payment of salaries- staff of ministry, lecturers and the training of staff in the sector.
One thing that could be seen is that there is an increase in terms of the amount voted in 2019 budget when compared to that of 2018, but that increase is not so significant.
In 2018, the Recurrent Cost in the submitted budget of 8.612 trillion Naira was 3.494 trillion Naira.
There was an increase of 0.546 trillion Naira on that Recurrent Cost amount in the 2019 budget.
From the Recurrent Cost of 4.04 trillion Naira in 2019 budget, the education sector got 462.24 billion Naira as its recurrent expenditure which is 11.44% of the Recurrent Cost while in 2018 the education sector got 435.01 billion Naira. This represents a 27.23 billion Naira (6.26%) on that amount in the 2019 budget.
But when compared in terms of percentage allocated to the sector in both years, that of 2018 showed to have received more even though the amount was less than that of 2019.
The 435.01 billion Naira for the education sector from the 3.494 trillion Naira Recurrent Cost of 2018 represents 12.45% which is higher than the 11.44% that was allocated to the sector in the 2018 budget.
President Buhari had during the presentation said that “the allocation to these Ministries represent significant increases over votes in previous budgets, underscoring our commitment to increase investment in national security and human capital development”.
But the recurrent expenditure in the education sector has showed a decline in the amount allocated in terms of percentage of amount from the total recurrent expenditure.
The recommendation of UNESCO is that every nation should give 26% of its budget to education, with capital project getting a reasonable amount of that sum.
But Nigeria is still doing below half of that 26% and this has persisted over years.
Buhari said: "Every child counts’! This is the guiding principle of our national educational system and entails far reaching actions to boost digital literacy, impart functional skills to our children, and re-train tens of thousands of teachers every year.
“Indeed, we must equip our children from a very young age with skills for the modern era by emphasising education in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics".
The industrial action of ASUU was called because the government failed to meet a funding agreement that was reached months ago and they have said they will not end the strike until something concrete had been done.
2019 is not going to be different from what the budget showed.
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