SSANU decries low budgetary provision for education
The Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has bemoaned the paltry allocation of N403 billion to the education sector in the 2016 budget.
A communiqué issued by the Association at the end of its four days workshop and National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS), Ilorin, Kwara State, lamented the insignificant sum saying it falls short of the 26 per cent minimum standard prescribed by the UNESCO.
The communiqué, which was signed by the National President of the Association, Samson Ugwoke, said the budgetary allocation is extremely poor and would have no impact on sector.
It read in part: “NEC in session noted with disappointment that the educational sector still remains highly underfunded, as the 2016 budgetary allocation to the educational sector is still extremely low. NEC notes that the to the education sector is grossly disproportionate to the needs of the sector and N403.16 Billion allocation is a far cry from the 26 percent UNESCO standard. NEC in session, notes that many countries with less incomes and population than Nigeria, place more premium on budgetary allocations on education and finds it ironic that a government that promised to employ 500, 000 teachers can devote so grossly meager sums to the educational sector.”
While calling on the Federal Government to urgently make provision for a supplementary budget to bridge the shortfall, SSANU insisted that government must attach greater focus on building the human resource more than the oil and gas sector.
The Association reminded the government over the need to kick-start the process of re-negotiation of the SSANU/FGN 2009 agreement, saying continued delay is detrimental to the growth of the education sector in the country.
“NEC in session noted that the SSANU/FGN 2009 Agreement had been due for review since 2012, in line with the terms of the agreement that it should be reviewed every three years.
“Council noted that the continued delay in setting up a negotiation committee was not in the best interest of peace in our Universities and called on Government to immediately invite the Union for discussions and negotiations. NEC further advised the government that the membership of the negotiation team should not be tilted towards only teaching staff in the University, but be balanced, to include registrars, bursars and representatives of other constituent groups in the system, including Technologists,” it said.
The communiqué also decried the recent increase of electricity tariff and pump price of petrol by President Muhammadu Buhari. It also condemned the move by the government for not carrying organized labour along before increasing the pump price of the product.
It added: “NEC in session frowned at the unilateral and almost simultaneous increases in electricity tariff and the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as Petrol, by the Federal Government in the name of removal of fuel subsidy. This is also against the background of a reported removal of subsidies on Fertilizer. NEC observed that the increase in price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) should have been considered along with a corresponding wage increase and palliatives to cushion the harsh effects of the increase. NEC also noted that the Federal Government should be held responsible for the unrest created by the sudden announcement of the increase without carrying along critical stakeholders in the decision-making process. SSANU had expected the masses oriented and populist Buhari-led administration to embark on high level consultation with relevant stakeholders as well as massive sensitization of the public on the matter before effecting any price change.”
SSANU lauded the courage and resilience demonstrated by the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) under Ayuba Wabba for maintaining its position and struggle against the deregulation of the downstream petroleum sector.