The N1bn vote of the Ministry of Education for travels and conferences in the 2014 budget has been described as ‘wasteful’ by the House of Representatives, which has also called for an immediate review of the proposal.
A visibly angry Committee of the House of Representatives on Education at a 2014 budget defence session with the supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyeson Nwike, noted that the N1bn voted for travels was 50 per cent of the N2bn allocated for training of teachers.
Chairman of the Committee, Mr. Aminu Suleiman, described the proposal for travels as “irrelevant and adds little value”.
He added, “The Nigerian Union of Teachers, even ASUU members, have complained that if the money budgeted for training and retraining of ministry staff yearly is enough to train and retrain all the teachers in this country.
“We should be concerned more about the quality of education our children get, and it can be improved on if we pay adequate attention to teachers’ training”.
Another member, Mr. Jerry Alagboso, observed that the allocation to the ministry for its internal operations jumped from N70bn in 2013 to N90bn this year.
But, the minister said he shared the worries expressed by the lawmakers and wished that he had the powers to re-allocate some of the funds to areas of urgent importance.
He blamed the Ministry of Finance and the Budget Office of the Federation for the anomaly.
Wike cited the provision for capital projects in the education sector, which he said had dropped from N71.23bn in 2013 to N49.53bn in 2014 as example.
According to him, “This is a significant drop of about 30.46 per cent. This sharp drop will surely impose constraints and challenges on the ministry in the implementation of its policy programmes.
Information Nigeria reports that the total budget allocated to the education sector this year is N493.45bn compared to the N437.47bn voted in 2013.