ASUU alleges padding of 2016 education budget; exposes discrepancies
Posted by News Express | 25 August 2016 | 3,336 times
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has uncovered conflicting details in allocation to education sector in the 2016 budget of the Federal Government surrounded by padding controversy.
Dr. Beke Sese, Zonal Chairman of ASUU, Port Harcourt Zone, disclosed this on Wednesday in Yenagoa during the zone’s press conference on “the insensitivity and failure of government to address key issues affecting the union that may threaten industrial peace and stability in universities.”
Present at the event which held at the Law Faculty Campus, Niger Delta University, Yenagoa, were Suobere Puyate (ASUU chairman, RSUST), Sado Austin (ASUU chairman, Uniport), Stanley Ogoun (ASUU chairman, NDU), Joseph Omoro (ASUU Chairman, Federal University, Otuoke), Tonbra Kingdom (NDU ASUU Secretary) and John Kalama (Federal University Otuoke ASUU Secretary).
Sese pointed out that there were glaring differences between appropriation bill and the details of the appropriation for the education sector.
He said that ASUU’s analysis of the budget showed that in the abridged version of the document, education got the sum of N368.6 billion for recurrent expenditure with N37 billion for capital expenditure while the detailed version indicated that the sum of N446.7 billion was allocated to the whole sector with the capital unchanged.
“We have analysed the 2016 budgetary allocation to education and have came up with following conclusions:
“There are discrepancies between appropriation bill and the details of the appropriation. The abridged version indicated that N368.6 billion was allocated to the sector for recurrent, and N37 billion for capital.
“The detailed version (of the budget) showed that N446.7 billion was allocated to the entire sector for recurrent and the capital remained the same.”
He observed that budgetary allocation to education in Nigeria had consistently fallen short of the UNESCO benchmark of 26 percent, noting that monies voted to the sector had been between 11 percent in 2013 and eight percent in 2016.
According to him, the state and Federal Governments had demonstrated lack of political will and capacity to reverse the decay in the university system, stressing that “we are in trouble times.”
Sese said that the Federal Government underlined its failure and insensitivity to the state of emergency in the sector with its breach of the 2009 agreement it signed with ASUU.
Other areas of concern to ASUU, Sese stated, include government’s reluctance to implement earned academic allowances to lecturers, non-payment of staff salaries, pension for university academic staff and compulsory retirement age, arbitrary removal and appointment of Vice Chancellors and re-negotiation of the 2009 agreement.
On the Treasury Single Account (TSA) adopted by the Federal Government, Sese argued that the policy was undermining the autonomy of universities as it had made it difficult for institutions to discharge their core responsibilities of teaching, research and community services, among others.
ASUU however, called on well-meaning Nigerians to intervene and avert any avoidable crisis that might rock the university system again, adding that there was the urgent need to re-direct the nation to the path of peace and sustainable development especially in the education sector and the university system in particular.