Dedicated to Nigeria's socio-political issues
October 3, 2007 - December 2, 2007
The 2006 Education Budget for Nigeria - A Forensic Investigation
Mobolaji E. Aluko, PhD
Burtonsville , Maryland, USA
October 9, 2006
Currently, a crisis is brewing between the Education Ministry in Nigeria and the Nigerian Labour Congress over moves to "privatize" the 102 federal government colleges, aka Unity Secondary Schools, in the country. The controversy has led to the possibility of all staff of such schools going on indefinite strike [see attached news item] to protest the development. In an announcement by Education Minister Oby Ezekwesili, she disclosed that while only 120,718 students and 27,200 staff are in the 102 federal Unity Schools – out of a total national population of 6.4 million secondary school students and about 300 secondary schools - a whopping 78 per cent of Federal Government's budgetary allocation to the ministry goes into the Unity Schools.
If that were the case, then in fact, there is a serious disequilibrium in financial resource allocation with respect to these unity schools which must be looked into and corrected immediately. As a result, a new public-private partnership might indeed ameliorate the situation.
But what is the true situation?
I went looking at the 2006 budget to answer that question.
THE 2006 BUDGET AND EDUCATION
For those who have the patience, the full 1190 page-budget will be found in:
whose publication on the Internet for any one who cares to read it must be regarded as one of the dividends of transparent democracy, a legacy left behind by former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
The summary Appropriation bill approved by the National Assembly in February 2006 will be found in:
However, Table 1 below is a re-formatted version of this NASS document for easier reference.
More specifically, the Education Budget section of the 2006 budget will be found in:
which again has been summarized in Table 2 below.
SO WHAT ARE THE TRUE FIGURES?
Table 1 shows a total 2006 budget of N1.9 trillion, out of which the Education sector is N166.6 billion or 8.77%. This is far below the recommended 26% UNESCO international target, an issue which the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been plaintively asking to be corrected for years now, and which continues to be a sore point between it and successive Nigerian governments. Thus, in fact, on a macroscopic scale, the Minister of Education should actually be loudly demanding for a doubling to tripling of the education budget.
Next, Table 2 shows that of that N166.6 billion for Education, payroll takes a whopping 69.5%, with capital projects taking only 22.4% and overhead rounding out the rest. The Table however shows that Unity Schools take up only about 11% of the total Education budget., with its own payroll (53.6%) and Overhead (27.9%) both taking up a Recurrent total of 81.5%, with the Capital project being about 18.5%..
It is ONLY this recurrent total of the Education budget that comes ANYWHERE close to the 78% mentioned by the Minister of Education, an observation that needs to be quickly clarified. One hopes that she has not been misinformed in her new position as Education minister.
WHITHER THE UNITY SCHOOLS?
The above disclosures must be looked at separately from the desirability of the federal government to give up all of these Unity Schools onto new administration. Granted that the historical mission of the unity secondary schools has been to provide an early educational forum in country where young minds can interact with those from other parts of the country, as well as to provide models of excellence to other secondary schools, one questions whether it is ONLY the federal government that can ensure those desirable outcomes. After all, secondary education is really a remit of states in our 1999 Constitution rather than the federal government, and states too understand why unity schools are important.
Thus, rather than give the unity schools up to PRIVATE persons to manage or to own outright, one believes that the right of first refusal should be given to STATE GOVERNMENTS, since the 102 schools mean on average about 3 schools per state. This additional number of new schools under state administration will therefore not be an unusual burden to the states, particularly if a significant take-off fund is provided to the states by the federal government.
Finally, while we are discussing a change in management of unity schools, we might as well discuss reversal of management of mission and other private schools that were taken over in the fever of over-centralization of the late 1970s and 80s. As many as possible of those too should be handed back to their former owners by state governments – as has been done by Lagos State and more recently Rivers State - with possibly five-year transition agreements worked out so that staff salaries and pensions as well as the inevitable increase in students' fees will not lead to deleterious effect on the various stakeholders.
NEWS ITEM: FROM "THE NATION" NEWSPAPER
TABLE 1: NIGERIA 'S APPROPRIATION BILL 2006
(All Amounts Are in Naira Currency)
For an earlier version of this Bill, see also:
PART A - STATUTORY TRANSFERS
PART B - DEBT SERVICE
PART C - RECURRENT (NON-DEBT) EXPENDITURE
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This page was last updated on 10/27/07.