Senate wants N500bn for education sector
To revamp the decayed education sector in the country, Chairman Senate Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije has called on government to raise a bond of N500 billion to turn around the situation. Speaking during budget defence of some agencies under the Ministry of Education yesterday, Chukwumerije said government must take immediate step at addressing the deteriorating education sector saying without education the country cannot meet its development targets.
He said “given the state of our educational institutions and the goals of achieving Vision 20:2020, we need to lay the foundation by making it absolutely necessary to raise more money for the sector. Indeed, our education sector is not just deteriorating. It is in fact in shambles. It a major casualty of our decades of wrong prioritization.
“In my view however, dealing with the issues in our educational sector is equally a national priority and we should allow the sector to raise a bond of no less than N500 billion to provide funds for the repositioning of the sector.”
Chukwumerije decried lack of efficient planning in the sector saying “the long neglect of the education sector will sooner than later confront our future with a grim of harvest. Nigeria is fast sliding into a class of Philistines and glorified illiterates.”
The Federal Government has proposed to spend about N339.4 billion on education in 2011 out of which N279 billion is for personnel cost; N25 billion for overhead while the balance of N35 billion is for capital expenditure.
While indicating that the funding for the sector is grossly inadequate to tackle all the needs, Chukwumerije advocates accountability in the process of generating internal revenue by the agencies.
“I will like to advise that there is no way the Federal Government can meet all your financial demands. In the meantime it becomes necessary for MDAs to strengthen measure that will boost internal revenue, international collaboration and competition to obtain research grants for all sources.
“MDAs are also expected to keep good records of their internally generated revenue. The projected IGR for 2011 should be submitted to the committee for approval before it is expended. The committee has been passionate on the way institutions utilize their IGR because of the huge overhead expenses which cannot be totally funded from annual budget allocation,” he said.