The Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All (CSACEFA) has called on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN), President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately withdraw the appropriation bill Sent to the National assembly to reduce the Universal Basic Education Funds alongside that of health by 54.25% amounting to over N51.1bn, as against initial budget of N111.7bn, and a huge reduction by N44.4bn to N25.5bn, a decrease of more than 42.2% of the Primary Health Care Funds sourced from the 2% Consolidated Revenue Funds and the 1% Basic Health Care Provision (BHCP) Fund respectively.
In a letter to the president signed by the National Moderator of the coalition, CSACEFA reminded the president that, reducing the Education Budget will affect the education sector in fighting the Covid-19 especially in the provision of basic hygiene (WASH) and gender friendly facilities for basic primary and Secondary Schools during and post Covid-19 pandemic.
The letter reads
5th June, 2020
Federal Republic of Nigeria,
State House, Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
Dear Mr. President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.),
Reduction of Universal Basic Education Intervention Funds Budget
We write as a National Civil Society Coalition working and intervening on education issues in the 36 states of the federation and the FCT, to draw your attention to our displeasure in the reduction of the Universal Basic Education Funds including other vital, heart robing and pertinent issues in the education sector in the country especially in this period of pandemic and beyond.
We must congratulate you on the action taken thus far in curtailing the spread of the covid-19 and the daily briefing of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, which has continuously abreast the nation on the recent happenings and helping to a large extent to minimizing the spread of covid-19, for us this proactive measure has repose some level of trust on the government in the management of Corona virus in Nigeria.
Your Excellency sir, remember that in the month of March, 2020, you ordered the closure of schools across the country (an effort we lauded so much). Sir, logically, this closure has put over 36 million pupils in Basic Education out of school, to join the already 13.2 million children indicated by the Universal Basic Education Commission(UBEC 2019 National Personnel Audit and UNICEF (www.unicef.org https://www.voanews.com/africa/un-nigeria-more-13-million-school-age-children-out-school). This only means that over 49 million Nigeria Children in basic education are out of school as at today, due to the covid-19 pandemic and over time to the inadequate/lack of basic pupils learning friendly facilities.
Mr President Sir, it has come to our knowledge on Thursday 4th of June, 2020, that you transmitted a bill to the National Assembly seeking approvals for the Reduction of Universal Basic Education Funds by 54.25% amounting to over N51.1bn, as against initial budget of N111.7bn, and a huge reduction by N44.4bn to N25.5bn, a decrease of more than 42.2% of the Primary Health Care Funds sourced from the 2% Consolidated Revenue Funds and the 1% Basic Health Care Provision (BHCP) Fund respectively. This reduction at this time of the Country’s Social Economic situation is not germane. We must not hide under the Covid-19 pandemic to deprive our children their social well-being either in education or health.
We are very much aware that the Federal Government has been well supported by International Bodies, Corporate Organizations and well-Meaning Nigerians, financially and material wise running to millions of dollars to fight the Corona Virus Infection (CVI). Hiding under the guise of the drop in oil prices for this reduction does not point to any logical direction so to do.
We are therefore constrained to request Mr. President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) that the Appropriation Bill sent to the National Assembly seeking approval especially in reduction of education funds in Basic Education (BE) and Primary Health Care (PHC) be withdrawn immediately.
Remember your excellency that in 2017 at Darkar, you promised to budget annually 15% of Nigeria budget for education, 3 years down the line Mr. President, we have not seen that happen rather we have statically remain at 7% which does not cover well towards achieving education needs and goals in this country. You very well know that, many of our states depends on this UBE Funds to augment financing the basic education which falls directly under their jurisdiction, in line with education being in the concurrent list.
May we also remind His excellency that, Agenda 2030, which Nigeria signed to achieve is knocking at our door, and we cannot boost of achieving a single target out of the 7 targets of the Sustainable Development Goal 4.
We also wish to draw attention of Mr. president to the fact that the Post Covid-19 will come with much education burden on the states and the Federal Capital Territory. Schools have been closed for over three months and as it stands, we do not know when the schools will be reopened. This also means that renovations will be carried out, school across communities will need to be fumigated, wash and sanitization facilities are a must to be provided, owing to the fact that most of these school have been re-purpose for either Isolation Centers and or Market aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19. Teachers support training and health condition will be put in place, all these will come from the UBE funds which is presently under attack.
Mr President, should we remind you also that, no Nation can grow without quality, inclusive education and health, the height we have attained today is a product of the sacrifice that were made for education by our founding fathers, many of us especially those in authorities received free quality education and health. If we do not fund education properly today, we will be unfair to the next generation, and posterity will not spear us in judgement.
2020 is the decade of action. We have a lot to achieve in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5 and others. This year 2020 has been challenging, let us not make this more challenging for our children whom we should protect.
About the Civil Society Action Coalition on Education for All (CSACEFA)
The Civil Society Action Coalition on Education For All (CSACEFA) is the National Education Coalition (NEC) in Nigeria, coordinating the activities of CSOs, FBOs, CBOs, Education Unions and Student Unions, working on education issues. The coalition is a membership organization, with her members and affiliates spread in all the 36 states of the federation. CSACEFA was founded in in 2000 as a response to attend the world education summit in Dakar. At the time, forty (40) NGOs come up with key positions and represented the voices of CSOS from Nigeria at the summit, since then, CSACEFA membership has increased to Six Hundred and Eighty (680) members, skilled in policy issues, project management and community mobilization. CSACEFA over these years has been inputting and contributing to education policies at Communities, State, National, Regional and Global spaces, in strong partnership with National and International Organizations working towards the advancement of education for all. CSACEFA is registered with the Federal Ministry of Education, Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), the Ministry of Budget and National planning and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). CSACEFA is affiliated to African Network Campaign for Education for All (ANCEFA at the Regional Level, and the Global Campaign for Education (GCE), a member of the GPE Grants and Performance Committee (GPC), and a member of the CSOs2 (Implementing National Education Coalitions) at the global level.
While we look forward to the reversal of the proposed request and proper financing of education, be assured that we will always support the government on policies, programs, projects and intervention that promote the social well-being of the Nigeria students and nation building.
Yours in Nation Building
National Moderator/Board Chairman
- Minister of Education, National Secretariat Complex, CBD, Abuja
- Senate President, National Assembly, three Arms Zone, Abuja
- Speaker House of Representative, National Assembly, three Arms Zone, Abuja
- Minister of budget and national planning,
- Minister of Finance, Central Business District, Abuja
- Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management
- Executive Secretary Universal Basic Education Commission
- Ambassador General, United State Embassy
- Country Director, UNICEF
- President WorldBank.
- Secretary General, United Nations
- Chairman, African Union