Concerns Arise Over Low Education Allocation in Nigeria's 2024 Budget

In a recent interview with University World News, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, the President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria, voiced serious concerns about the meagre allocation to the education sector in the 2024 budget proposal. The budget, presented by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, designates NGN2.18 trillion (approximately US$2.76 billion) to education, accounting for a mere 7.9% of the total budget.

Osodeke strongly criticised the allocation, asserting that it fails to address the pressing challenges confronting the education sector. He highlighted President Tinubu's unfulfilled commitment to increase the education budget to a minimum of 15%, expressing dissatisfaction with the current budgetary provisions.

Breaking down the education budget, NGN1.23 trillion is allocated to the Federal Ministry of Education and its agencies, NGN251.47 billion for universal basic education, and NGN700 billion earmarked for infrastructure projects in tertiary institutions through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund).

Osodeke emphasised the repercussions of the insufficient budget, pointing to the government's failure to implement a promised 30% salary increase, resulting in four months of unpaid salaries and outstanding academic allowances. He cautioned that unresolved issues could lead to potential academic disruptions.

Attributing the challenges in the education sector to a lack of prioritisation from leaders, Osodeke called on citizens to advocate for change. He underscored the necessity for national development through a robust education system and urged the government to prioritise education to prevent the brain drain of students and academics seeking opportunities abroad.

In a plea for collective action, Osodeke urged Nigerians to demand increased funds for education, highlighting certain state governments that have allocated up to 20% of their budgets to the sector. As Nigeria's education system stands at a critical juncture, Osodeke urged the government to take decisive action to ensure Nigerian universities can compete on a global scale.


Article by Jed Mwangi