By Felix Khanoba
The Federal Government says it expended N86 billion as payment to academic unions for Earned Academic Allowances from 2013 to 2019.
Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echono, disclosed this in Abuja when he received the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, who visited the Ministry on an oversight function.
The Permanent Secretary, who blamed the seemingly slow pace of the nation’s educational development on poor budgetary allocations, lamented the N84.7 billion the sector received in 2020 Appropriation.
A statement made available to The AUTHORITY in Abuja by Mr Ben Goong; Deputy Director in charge of Public Relations Department, said the Perm Sec urged the National Assembly and other relevant agencies to overhaul their budgeting parameters and consider improving allocations to the education sector.
He subsequently appealed for more budgetary allocations in the 2021 budget, if the country is to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGs) by 2030.
According to Echono, budgetary allocations to the sector need to be improved as the country’s tertiary institutions are plagued with a lot of challenges, including shortage of lecture theatres, hostel accommodation, obsolete laboratories and library facilities.
He added that the sector is also faced with lack of adequate security infrastructure in tertiary institutions and non-completion of National library headquarters complex.
While saying despite the inadequate funding, a lot has been achieved in the development of the nation’s tertiary institutions, the Perm Sec said plans are in top gear to constitute visitation panels to deal with some of the challenges facing universities with a view to finding lasting solutions to the problems.
In his remark, Hon. Aminu Suleiman, Chairman of the House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, said the visit was not for fault finding but to build synergy with the Ministry on enhancing better service delivery in the nation’s tertiary institutions, within its limited resources.