NASU Decries Drop in Education Budget

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*  Issues fresh notice of strike over IPPIS

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Non Academic Staff Union of Universities and Inter-University Centres, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education (NASU) has Condemned the continuously low budgetary allocations to the country’s education sector.

The union at its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting held in Abuja last Friday observed with deep concern that over the years, the federal government has failed to adequately fund the education sector.

In a communique jointly signed by NASU President, Makolo Hassan, and General-Secretary, Peter Adeyemi, the union urged the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation to urgently redress the shortcomings, falling which NASU may embark on a strike in the Universities and Inter-University Centres, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

“NEC condemned in strong terms the 7.05 percent budgetary allocation to education in 2019 and 6.7 percent in 2020 federal government annual budget, which are inadequate from the 26 percent UNESCO recommended budgetary allocation to education,” the body said.

It noted with dismay what it described as the complete neglect of the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in all the financial interventions by the federal government despite the fact that Needs Assessment has been concluded in the sectors and the reports released.

In the communique, it also noted that the funding level of teaching/specialist hospitals and research institutes is grossly inadequate, and called on the federal government to live up to its responsibilities by adequately funding these institutions.

NASU urged the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, improve on the budgetary allocation to the education sector, and also implement the White Paper for the Needs Assessments in the Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

The union, however, acknowledged the sum of N40 billion recently ceded to the revitalisation by the federal government.

It further noted the intervention of TETfund in the release of N1 billion each to 12 universities in the six geo-political zones.

On the implementation of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), NASU NEC expressed dismay over the “haphazard implementation of the scheme in the Universities and Inter-university centres, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education since February 2020.

It said contrary to the assurances given by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation prior to the enrolment of staff of the body into the scheme, IPPIS will ensure the convenient and prompt payment of staff remunerations with minimal wastages and ensure efficiency in service delivery, as the experience of the federal Universities and Inter-University Centres, Federal Polytechnics and Federal Colleges of Education since the implementation of IPPIS in February, 2020 showed that the scheme is fraught with noticeable shortcomings,” it stated.