The Nigerian Senate on Monday made a new discovery of N10 billion increment in the 2016 Budget for Personnel Costs proposal of parastatals in the Education sector as against N88, 199,311,758 appropriated in 2015.
The discovery, which sparked a query from the legislators, followed the 2016 Budget defense before the Senate Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary) chaired by Senator Aliyu Wamakko, at the National Assembly Complex.
The Majority Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, was the one who observed that N98, 181,570, 230 was Budget for parastatals in the 2016 Budget proposal, while Personnel Costs proposals of institutions like Unity schools and universities were reduced soon after the presentation was made by the Minister of State Education, Prof. Anthony Anwuka.
“For Personnel Costs, almost every subsector of the Ministry got quite some money, while the main ministry, colleges of education, polytechnics, universities and so on, except the parastatals that have increase. I want to know why every other person lost money, except parastatals. What is so unique about parastatals?
“If somebody is retired, we hope the person is replaced. If not, the person suffers, unless the person was not doing essential services before; likewise for the ministry and institutions.
“What is so golden about the parastatals that they should gain at the expense of the institutions? Some of us feel that the parastatals are too many, and that the schools are the ones at the heart of education. So, if any body should gain, it should be Unity schools, polytechnic and universities.
“So, if these parastatals are supposed to serve them, and they are the ones that keep growing, and the rest are coming down, we want to know why?
“The parastatals are having N9 billion extra, while other persons are losing. We want to know, we don’t want to punish them; but you must justify it. Right now, I am inclined to say you won’t get that, unless you can justify it.
“The point is by your own figures, parastatals are requesting almost N10 billion more than they got last year. Did they get that quantum lead? We cannot have a situation, where our schools are losing and parastals are the ones gaining,” Adeyeye queried.
The Ministry was also queried for embarking on road constructions and bridges on behalf of some of its agencies located within the Federal Capital Territory, stressing that such projects were not under the agencies jurisdiction.
The Senate directed the Ministry to present details of monies realized by some of its agencies that are revenue generating and explain how the monies were being spent.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, directed the Ministry to return at a later date to give a better explanation on why parastatals were given priority over schools, while expressing his displeasure at a situation where schools are losing, while parastatals are gaining.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan while defending the Ministry’s presentation, explained that the figures presented by the Ministry were submitted by the various parastatals and institutions in the Ministry.
She further explained that the variance in the proposals depended on the number of people enrolled in Personnel and Payment Information System (IPPIS).
The 2016 Personnel Costs Appropriation for Ministry of Education is N3,523,898,134 as against N3,768, 875,010 appropriated in 2015. The 2016 Personnel Costs proposal for colleges of education is N37, 645,898,297 as against 2015 appropriation of N40,262,992,834 and the proposal for Universities is N211,025,582,247 as against 2015 appropriation of N227,271, 130, 529.