Despite pledging improved funding, Tinubu allocates less than 7% of budget to education

NIGERIA’S education funding will again fail to meet UNESCO’s standard given President Bola Tinubu’s allocation of only 5.98 per cent of the 2024 proposed budget of N24.08 trillion to the sector.

The 2024 budget proposed an aggregate expenditure of N27.5 trillion for the Federal Government in 2024, of which the NET budget is N24.08trn. NET is the remaining fund after all deductions like taxes and VAT have been removed.

This is despite the president’s several promises during his campaign and post-election addresses to reform the education sector by augmenting funding.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) sets a benchmark of at least 15 to 20 per cent of the national budget for education. The Nigerian government has failed to meet the benchmark year after year.

The ICIR reports that Tinubu’s appropriation for the sector in 2024 is more than former President Muhammadu Buhari’s allocation to the sector in 2023. Buhari earmarked N4.95 billion of the total budget of N21.83 trillion for the sector that year. 

A review of the 2024 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by Tinubu revealed that out of the N24.08 trillion proposed NET budget for next year, N1.4 trillion, amounting to 5.98 per cent, was allocated to education.

Out of the allocation to the Education Ministry, N330 billion (N330,358,596,001) was budgeted for capital projects, constituting 22.96 per cent, and the overhead budget stands at 5.01 per cent, totalling N72.1 billion (N72,124,230,514).

Meanwhile, the allocation for the personnel is slightly over a trillion (1,036,484,193,887), translating to 72.03 per cent of the budgeted amount to the ministry.

This also means that the largest bulk of the money goes to paying salaries, with just about a quarter of the allocation for capital projects.

Capital expenditures are spent on physical projects, namely building new offices, equipping them, and making other fixed assets procurements.  

In a series of reports, The ICIR documented how some schools are dilapidated and some education-related projects abandoned. 

Although this year’s allocation to the education sector has shown that Tinubu took a step forward compared to what his predecessor allocated in the 2023 budget, it is still far below the 15 to 20 per cent benchmark by UNESCO.

The poor trend continues…

Between 2025 and now, the Federal Government has continued to ignore concerned stakeholders’ clamours and agitation over poor budget allocation to the education sector by its failure to allocate a significant amount of the annual budget to the sector.

A review of the budgetary allocations for education between 2016 and 2023 indicates that the Buhari’s administration never assigned up to 10 per cent of the total budget to the education sector. 

Sadly, the allocation declined from 7.93 per cent in 2016 to 4.95 per cent in 2023.

The ICIR reported that in 2015, before Buhari was sworn in, a total of N483 billion (N483,183,784,654), translating to 10.8 per cent of the budget, was for education.

It, however, decreased to 7.93 per cent in Buhari’s first budget in 2016. In 2017,  6.12 per cent was earmarked for the education sector, showing a decrease from the percentage allocated in the previous year.

For what looked like good news, the allocation for education slightly rose to 7.14 per cent in 2018, with a total of N651 billion designated for the sector. However, it decreased to 7.11 per cent in 2019, as the Federal government allocated N634 billion to the sector.

The situation was no different in 2020 as Buhari again earmarked N607 billion, about 5.74 per cent. In 2021, the allocation decreased slightly to 5.29 as the government approved N771.46 billion.

In 2022, the Federal Government budgeted N900 billion of its total allocation to education, which was about 5.26 per cent of the amount, while in 2023, the administration earmarked 4.95 per cent of the total budget to the sector. 



    Tertiary education underfunded – NUC

    Earlier this year, the National Universities Commission (NUC) disclosed that tertiary education in Nigeria is grossly underfunded, noting that it is affecting the quality of research and teaching in the sector.

    According to the NUC executive secretary, Abubakar Rasheed, the brain drain across universities was caused by the complex learning and teaching environment.

    “The universities are producing graduates who lack skills for employment and creative ability. There is a need for universities to generate income to complement government efforts. The sector cannot be funded alone by the government.



    “Brain drain in our university system is caused by a non-conducive learning and teaching environment and some other issues that need to be corrected,” he said.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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