Adamu Adamu, the minister of Education, on Monday, February 10, 2020, begged the National Assembly to increase the 2021 budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Education to enable it to achieve set goals.
This was as he disclosed that a total of N46 billion would be required to complete the work at the National Library Headquarters in Abuja.
Adamu said poor budgetary allocation coupled with the delayed release of the funds to his ministry in 2019 led it to only achieve 40 percent implementation level of the budget.
The minister, who spoke when the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, visited him for oversight function, regretted that a paltry sum of N84.7 billion was allocated to the education sector in 2020 Appropriation Act, to cater for 19 parastatals, 43 federal universities, five Inter-University Centres, 27 federal polytechnics, 21 federal colleges of Education and 104 Federal Government Colleges.
According to him, N46 billion was required to complete the multi-billion naira National Library of Nigeria Headquarters building complex, in which the construction had begun in 2006 with an initial completion period of 22 months.
The total amount appropriated to the education sector in 2019, he explained, was 634,557,159,877 with the percentage of capital releases to the sector as 42.96 percent.
He told the House Committee members that considering the decay and decadence in the education sector, lawmakers should consider increasing budgetary allocation to education to about 15 percent.
The minister said even though the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO, recommended 26 percent, there was the need to compare what Nigeria was allocated to education with some African countries such as Rwanda that allocates about N22 percent of her budget to education.
Adamu named some of the challenges hindering quality delivery of education in Nigeria to include, including the acute shortage of classrooms, hostel accommodation, laboratories, and library facilities.
According to him, others were inadequate teaching personnel as well as unqualified teachers, poor and inadequate provision of information and communication technology, ICT, facilities and lack of security infrastructure in schools.
The minister disclosed that government would soon set up an education watch group or task force to ensure that children are in school and to pick up those found on the streets during school hours, locate their parents for arrest and prosecution, saying the current rate of out-of-school children in the country was unacceptable.
He also urged the State Governors to invest more in basic education and do more to access the matching grant from the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, stressing that the Federal Government would embark on aggressive enrollment drive this year.
Speaking on the delay in the completion of the National Library project, Adamu told the House Committee that the complex was yet to be completed due to inadequate budgetary provisions over the years.
He disclosed that in 2019, the sum of N232,078,149 was appropriated to the complex while in 2020, the sum of N232,078,149 was appropriated adding that this amount was grossly inadequate to complete the complex.
He said considering the importance of the National Library to the nation, the Ministry has written to President Muhammadu Buhari to possibly direct the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to invest in the completion of the project.
He equally called for the dedication of one percent of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, CRF, to the funding of the newly approved National Secondary Education Commission so as to ensure its take-off while also increasing the UBEC 2 percent of CRF to 3 percent to boost the Commission’s intervention effort.
On his part, the chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Julius Ihonvbere, who led the delegation, said the committee was prepared to work with the ministry in the efforts to move the education forward.
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