2023 Budget: Stakeholders task govt on improved allocation for education, health
Stakeholders in health and education sectors as well as Civil Society Organisations, have called upon Federal Government to increase allocation to education and health sectors in the proposed 2023 budget.
Speaking yesterday at a forum in Abuja, they insisted that improved allocation for the two crucial sectors was imperative towards raising standards in the sectors.
The Executive Director, of the Social and Economic Rights Development Centre, Tijani Abdulkareem, stated that governments at all levels are saddled with the responsibility of managing resources through the instrumentality of the annual budget where citizens’ needs were translated into services.
He added that analysis by stakeholders in the health sector has shown that the proposed budget for healthcare in the 2023 national budget was not sufficient for Nigeria to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and tackle emerging epidemics and pandemics.
He said: “The proposed 2023 budget Christened Fiscal Sustainability and Transition budget would be realistic if more funds are channelled towards agriculture, health and education as articulated in the citizen needs in the federal government 2023 budget.”
Adding: “The evaluation indicates that the right policies are in place but an increase in quality and access to education is critical. In the 2022 budget, there was an increase of seven per cent on education but the evaluation says it will need to increase to 26 per cent to meet UNESCO’s recommendation.”
“The impact of the burden on inflation could be positive or negative depending on the rationality and spending behaviour of the government. If a good percentage of the budget is fixated on the expansion of the agricultural sector, promoting educational development and prioritizing health, it would increase productivity and growth.”
Abdulkareem, therefore, called for proactive measures to ensure strict implementation of the budget in line with its provisions to achieve the set objectives as government owe it a duty to reflect citizens’ priorities and needs into a very important national document like the budget.
The Executive Director, of the Centre for Accountability and Inclusive Development, Aanu Rotimi, while also speaking, stated that the Executive and Legislative arms of government should ensure that citizen groups participate more in the budget process, especially during the budget preparation stage, budget defence sessions and budget public hearings.
She further reiterated that the Open Government Partnership to which Nigeria is a signatory aimed to further raise the bar on the budgeting process.
According to her, citizen groups are now more aware of the role they must play in shaping the budget document.