Beaming searchlight on the Universal Basic Education funds

by Ymonitor

The Universal Basic Education Act 2004 provides for compulsory free universal basic education (UBE) for all children of primary and junior secondary school age in Nigeria.

The main objectives of the UBE programme are: developing in the entire citizenry a strong consciousness for education and a strong commitment to its vigorous promotion; the provision of free, universal basic education for every Nigerian child of school age; reducing drastically the incidence of drop-out from formal school system, through improved relevance, quality and efficiency; catering for the learning needs of young persons, who for one reason or the other have had to interrupt their schooling through appropriate forms of complementary approaches to the promotion of basic education; and ensuring the acquisition of the appropriate levels of literacy, numeracy, communicative and life skills as well as ethical, moral and civil values needed for laying a solid foundation for lifelong learning.

As part of the Federal Government’s commitments in ensuring successful implementation of the UBE programme by States and Local Governments, 2% of Nigeria’s Consolidated Revenue Fund is dedicated to supporting States of the Federation in providing access to quality education especially in developing much needed infrastructure in implementing the UBE program.

Every State in Nigeria including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) is required to provide an equal amount as counterpart fund contribution in order to access/draw-down the matching grant, in accordance with Section 11(2) of the UBE Act, 2004. In other words, for any State to qualify for the grant, such State shall contribute not less than 50% of the total cost of projects as its commitment in the execution of the project(s).

Since the inception of the UBE programme in Nigeria from 2005 to 2015, the Federal Government through Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has released to States of the Federation including FCT a total amount of N306,207,101,443.99. However, information released by UBE as at 7 March, 2016 reveals that out of the amount released, N243,943,536,731.48 was disbursed while N62,263,564,712.51 remains unaccessed. The amount accessed constituted 76.7% just as 20.3% accessed.

But investigations have shown that only few states access these funds, in other words, the funds remain idle in the account and accumulates over the years. And for some other states, they go to the banks to source for the counterpart fund in order to access the funds and immediately they get the funds, they are unable to account for the use of the funds. The crux of the matter is not all states who are able to access the funds are able to account for it.

Ymonitor would be tracking the issue of UBE funds to ascertain the exact number of states that have been able to access the funds and those that have not. We would also be raising questions of accountability to determine whether the funds were used for the right purpose.

 

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