The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has argued that Nigeria’s education budget for 2022 should have been N1.14 trillion, an equivalent of 8.4 per cent of the country’s total annual budget and not 5.4 per cent.
In reference to a THISDAY report that had quoted President Muhammadu Buhari, UNICEF faulted the federal government over its resolve to increase the budget by 50 percent, saying with the dwindling allocation, the sector would suffer more in school enrolment and in the retention of school children.
The Senior Education Manager, UNICEF Field Office, Kano, Mr. Michael Banda, who disclosed this in Katsina, during a media dialogue on Girls’ Education Project (GEP), said without adequate investment in the education sector, health and other sectors were bound to suffer.
Lamenting the lackluster attitude of the government towards funding education, Banda said just when it was concluded that 2021 budget was the worse in 10 years after 2011, that of 2022 was recorded to have a saddening decimal.
Emphasising that one out of five out-of-school children in the world was a Nigerian, Banda reiterated that both individuals and the countries benefit from investment in education.
“In 2021, education budget was 5.6 percent. To the ratio of 50 per cent which was promised, 5.6 per cent becomes an equivalent of 2.8 per cent.
“So in the face of 50 per cent which was promised by the federal government, education budget in 2021 was estimated to be 6.7 percent.
“In 2022, in the face of 50 per cent increase, we expected it to be 8.4 percent which is an equivalent of N1.14 trillion. But unfortunately, it was 5.4 percent.
“In 2022, the headquarters of the federal ministry of education was allotted N65.3 billion, UBEC which supervises Education at primary and secondary levels get N77.6 billion. The remaining N599.6b was shared across 21 commissions and agencies under the federal ministry of education with an average of N28.5 billion per institution.
“In 2021, the education budget was the lowest in 10 years. Out of N13.08 trillion budgeted for the year 2021, N742.5 billion was allotted to the entire education sector. That is just 5.6 percent, the lowest of allocation since 2011. In the breakdown, N573.7 billion was for personnel cost, N35.4 billion for overhead cost, while N177.3 billion was dedicated for capital expenditure.”