The National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), has rejected the N50 billion allocation to education sector in the 2017 Budget Appropriation; saying that the allocation is less than 10 per cent of the total budget.
The union, which voiced out its position on the 2017 Budget Appropriation in a communique issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, where it also advised the Federal Government, especially President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure that integrity test is carried out before the appointment of Vice-Chancellors; who will be in charge of allocations to universities.
In the communique, signed by the General Secretary of NAAT, Comrade Iyoyo, Hamilton, the union said the N50 billion budgetary allocation to the sector was grossly inadequate, adding that more and improved allocation should be made to education.
The communique read: “NAAT frowned at the inadequate Budgetary Allocation of N50 billion to Education Sector in the proposed 2017 Appropriation Bill, which is less than 10 per cent of the total budget, and recommends improved allocation to education as a panacea to recovery from the current economic recession.
“NAAT re-echoes its earlier call that government should beam its search light on the financial activities of the Nigerian universities so as to tackle corruption head-long in the system. In the same vein, NAAT advises that integrity test should be carried out before the appointment of vice-chancellors. This advice has become imperative in the light of recent unsavoury developments in the university system.
“NAAT observes that our budget projections are always made to encourage and sustain capital flight. So much money is voted for capital projects which at the end are handled by big multinational companies which domicile the funds outside Nigeria. This deprives the local economy of sufficient funds to sustain the domestic economic growth.
“NAAT frowns at this arrangement because we need to grow our national economy to be able to train our engineers, technologists and other professionals. Government should therefore put this factor into consideration when awarding contracts.”
The union appealed to the National Assembly to urgently do the needful to ensure early passage of the proposed 2017 Appropriation Bill for the President’s accent, so that the Budget can be implemented to the letter.
It also noted that some state governments still owe several months of workers’ salaries and allowances, despite the bailout funds from the Federal Government.
Describing this as unfortunate and unacceptable, NAAT urged the FGN to monitor and ensure compliance to the conditions attached to the release of the funds, made to state governments recently as part of the Paris Club loan refunds to them.
The union advised the Federal Government to beef-up efforts to tackle insecurity in the areas of kidnapping, bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers, pre- and post-election violence as recently experienced in some parts of the country.
NAAT observed with dismay the reluctance of government to implement the 2009 Agreements it freely entered into with the Unions, and strongly urged the government to fully implement the agreements to avert industrial disharmony.