Nigeria gets lowest education budget size in six years, months after president’s promise to double funding

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has reneged on his promise to raise Federal Government’s budget for education by 50 per cent, effective from 2022.

The education sector will get lower funds (next year) than what it received in 2021 budget, despite the president promise.

In July, Buhari had promised at the Global Education Summit in London to beat the global benchmark of 20 per cent and raise his government’s budget for education to 50 per cent in 2022 and 2023, and to 100 per cent by 2025.


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“We commit to progressively increase our annual domestic education expenditure by 50 per cent over the next two years and up to 100 per cent by 2025 beyond the 20 per cent global benchmark,” the News Agency of Nigeria had reported the president as saying at the meeting.

Less than three months after making the promise, the president submitted the proposed budget for 2022 to the National Assembly on October 7.

Percentage of Education budget against Total National Budget
Percentage of Education Budget against Total National Budget

Regarding the national budget percentage, the proposed budget for education (in 2022) is the lowest since Buhari assumed office in 2015.

The budget shows that the government will spend more of the education budget on salaries and running of offices, much more than it will spend on infrastructures.

Of the proposed budget of N16.39 trillion, the sector gets N705.27 billion. The recurrent budget, comprising funds for salaries, training of employees and running of offices, will come to N593,47 billion and funds for infrastructural development in the sector, known as capital budget, as proposed, will take N111. 80 billion.

The percentage allocation for the sector is 4.3 per cent of the national budget. 

In 2021, the percentage allocation to the sector was 5.68 of the national budget. 

The approved national budget for the year was N13.58 trillion. The government devoted N771.46 billion to education.

Recurrent and capital votes for the year were N615.28 billion and N156.17 billion, respectively. 

The government had an Appropriation Act of N10.81 trillion in 2020, from which it allocated N607.66 billion to education. 

Recurrent spending in that year was N532.49 billion, while the capital fund was N75.17 billion.

Therefore, the total percentage of the education budget against the national budget for the year was 5.62 per cent.

Education got  7.12 per cent of the 2019 budget, as the government earmarked N634.55 billion of its N8.91 trillion to the sector.

Recurrent expenditure for the year gulped N575.86 billion, while capital spending got N58.68 billion.

In 2018, the percentage funding for the sector against the national budget was higher, put at 7.14 per cent.

Nigeria's Federal Government budget for education between 2016 and 2022
Nigeria’s Federal Government budget for education between 2016 and 2022

The total national budget for that year was N9.12 trillion, and allocation for the sector was N651.22 billion.

Recurrent expenditure gulped N548.31 billion of the fund while spending on capital projects took N102.90 billion.

The sector received its highest proportion of the national budget in 2016 at 7.92 per cent. The federal budget for the year was N6.06 trillion. Education got N480.27 billion that year. The government allocated N444.84 billion and N35.43 billion for recurrent and capital expenditures, respectively. 

However, there was a sharp drop in the budget for education in 2017. Of the total national budget of N7.44 trillion, the government approved N455.40 billion to the sector.

Recurrent and capital expenditures for the year were N398.68 and N56.72 billion, respectively.

Percentage of capital expenditure for education against recurrent education budget under Buhari

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu

Analysis of budgets for the sector in the past six years shows that capital spending against recurrent was highest in 2021.

It was 25.38 per cent compared to the sector’s budget. In 2016, the percentage was 7.9 per cent. The proportion moved up to 14.2 per cent in 2017. 

There was a further leap in 2018 to 18.60 per cent.  But there was a drop to 10.18 per cent.

The percentage of capital spending to recurrent expenditure was 14.11 per cent in 2020.

Meanwhile, the government has pruned it to 18.83 per cent in the 2022 appropriation bill. The government has sustained a low budget for the sector amidst strikes by teachers and other workers, inadequate and dilapidated infrastructures, insufficient research, shortage of skilled workforce, insecurity, brain drain, among other challenges bedevilling the sector.



Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's the ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

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