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N/Assembly’s budget of N344.4bn higher than 15 federal universities’ combined

The federal lawmakers have increased the budget of the National Assembly budget from N197.93billion proposed for them by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to N344.48bn. The…

The federal lawmakers have increased the budget of the National Assembly budget from N197.93billion proposed for them by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to N344.48bn.

The approved budget of N344.48bn is higher than combined budgets of the 15 biggest federal universities across the country. The universities will be spending just N327.8bn for 2024. 

The National Assembly with less than two thousand lawmakers and staff, and with fewer capital projects, will also be spending far higher than eight teaching hospitals with over one million staff and student-doctors. 

The Senate and the House of Representatives lawmakers passed the FG budget on Saturday after increasing it from N27.5 trillion proposed by the president to N28.7trn, a difference of about N1.2 trn.

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This is happening at a time when many Nigerians are enduring harsh economic pains occasioned by FG’s economic reforms. 

In the budget seen by our reporter yesterday, the eight teaching hospitals will be spending justN190.8bn, about N154bn less than N344.48 budgeted for the National Assembly for 2024.

Daily Trust reports that Nnamdi Azikwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, budgetedN37.6bn to spend next year;  University College Hosptal, Ibadan:N27.2bn, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu:N25.6bn and University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH), Uyo:N20.6bn.

Others are Aminu Kano University Teaching Hospitals (AKUTH), Kano:N20.5bn, Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), Ife:N19.9bn, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) Port Harcourt:N19.8bn and University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Benin:N19.6bn. 

Similarly, fifteen federal universities’ cumulative budget of N327.8billion for their capital and recurrent expenditures for 2024 is lower than the National Assembly’s.  

According to the document seen in the Budget Office by our reporter, the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has a total budget ofN36.6bn, University of Calabar:N29.5bn, Ahmadu Bello University:N29.2bn and Nnamdi Azikiwe University:N26.3bn.

Others include: University of Benin:N24.2bn, University of Ibadan:N23.4bn, University of Maiduguri:N22.3bn, University of Port Harcourt:N19.6bn, University of Lagos:N19.4bn, Obafemi Awolowo University:N17.1bn, Bayero University:N17bn, University of Tech, Owerri:N16.8bn, University of Jos:N16.2bn, University of Uyo:N15.6bn and National Open University:N14.6bn. 

Many non-governmental organisations have been calling on the federal government and the National Assembly to increase the budgetary allocation to the education sector.

They said despite the United Nations’ goal for education, Nigeria remains one of the countries with the highest number of out-of-school children in the world, adding that Nigeria still has more than 10 million children out there who can’t afford education.

Going by UNESCO’s recommendation, Nigeria should spend between 15 and 20 per cent of its annual budget on the education sector.

However, a review of the federal government’s proposed budget revealed that the budget for education this year, 2024, is less than seven per cent.

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