The Senator representing Benue South Senatorial District, Comrade Abba Patrick Moro, has decried the insufficient allocation for education and some other sectors in the 2021 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
Speaking at the plenary on the floor of the Senate, Senator Moro said the budgetary allocations to the education, security and works sectors were inadequate, while also lamenting the poor state of the Otukpo township road in Benue State, which he described as a ‘death trap’.
According to a press release by his media aide, Ameh Comrade Godwin, the Senator said, “As properly christened, budget of economic recovery and resilience, I do see some flashes of good tidings but when you look at the details, we still have a lot of works to do.
“I want to say that we have a lot of works to do in education, because if we must attain good results and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal in education, we still have to look in the direction of meeting the UNESCO minimum standard in allocation of our budget to education.
“In 2021, we have N70 billion allocated to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), N545.10 billion for the Ministry of Education in the recurrent expenditure and N127 billion for capital expenditure.
“Although, there is an improvement in the allocation, if you put all the aggregates together, we still have not arrived at any reasonable level in the threshold recommended by UNESCO.
“If we agree that education represents a very vital instrument in our drives towards national development, if we must use education as a tool to lay a foundation for a strong democracy, for building an egalitarian prosperous nation, for building an indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state under God, then we don’t have a choice but to allocate more funds to education.
“We also have the highest number of cross-border, out-of-school students in the sub-region; that tells you a story about the need to revamp and reinforce our tertiary education system, which, at the moment, is facing a myriad of challenges. We need some more funding to shore up and salvage our education sector.
“In 2020, we talked about the need to allocate more funds to the Ministry of Works. If you fly our roads today, many of them are in states of serious disrepair.
“I want to draw your attention, Mr. President, to the serious situation in my constituency.
“The dualization of the Otukpo township road was flagged up in December 2018, but the road has been left in a serious state of comatose, and quite frankly, it is impassable and literally translating to a death trap. Just about 8 kilometres.
“The Taraku-Alaide road also presents a very pitiable sight, yet, these are roads whose contracts have already been awarded.
“The ministry of works that is saddled with the responsibility of building our roads is begging for serious funds to offset the debt owed contractors, to have enough funds to embark on new roads. This needs to be improved upon.”
The proposed expenditure in the 2021 Appropriation Bill is put at N13.08 trillion, with a crude oil benchmark price of $40 per barrel.