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NAAT decries low budgetary allocation to education sector 

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The National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), has blamed the abysmal standard of education in the country for the low budgetary allocation to the sector.

A communiqué issued by the association at the end of the 38th regular meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC), held in the Usman Danfodio University in Sokoto, said Nigeria has continually allocated figures that fall short of the UNESCO 26%.

It said: “NAAT condemns the hitherto low and haphazard budgetary allocation to the Education Section, by both the Federal and State Governments. Although the National Economic Council at its recent meeting had recommended minimum of 15 per cent annual budgetary allocation to the education sector by both Federal and state governments, the figure is still well below the 26 per cent benchmark recommended by UNESCO. This consistently low budgetary allocation had over the years been largely responsible for the decay in infrastructure, inadequate teaching and research facilities, falling standard of education and other uncomplimentary narratives associated with the education sector.”

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The union therefore urges government at all levels to take proactive steps towards adequate funding of education. Nigeria should not be struggling to meet up with the UNESCO benchmark of 26% at this point in time.”

NAAT also stated that the contributory pension scheme is still not achieving its objectives of primarily alleviating the sufferings of pensioners.

“A situation where a Pension Fund Administrator (PFA) would tell a Federal Government Pensioner that there is no fund to pay his or her entitlement as at when due is a serious challenge. This lends credence to the speculation that the government is using pension funds to fund its infrastructural projects to the detriment of the pensioners. Certainly this is unacceptable to NAAT. Also, a number of state governments that have domesticated the scheme are not contributing their shares to the workers’ PFAs, which has left the workers as the sole contributors. This is also not acceptable. Government at all levels should ensure that the scheme is working for the pensioner as intended, or there should be a rethink,” it said.

The communiqué, which was signed by the General Secretary of the union, Hamilton Iyoyo, bemoaned the tactics adopted by the Federal Government in the negotiation of minimum wage so far.

NAAT flayed the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, over his insistence that negotiations are still continuing, saying, “NAAT considers as worrisome and unacceptable, the position of FGN as stated by the Minister of Labour and Employment that the Tripartite Committee on National Minimum Wage had not agreed on any figure for submission, whereas organised labour through the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, emphatically said an agreement of N30, 000.00 minimum wage figure was reached. Various unions including NAAT are used to seeing government renege on Agreements and MOUs even after duly signing same. NAAT as an affiliate of NLC hereby advises organised labour to stand firm. The union will comply with any decision taken by NLC on this issue.

The Union is also urging FGN to be responsive and avoid delay or actions, which could compel organised labour to resume its recently suspended nation-wide strike.”

The association also expressed worries over election malpractices that manifested in some of the elections concluded recently saying there are indications that the 2019 general elections scheduled to hold in February and March, may not be free, fair and credible.

NAAT advised politicians and other actors in the electoral process to eschew violence, vote-buying, hate speech and other negative tendencies if the election must be credible.


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