The amended Bill (SB.324) was brought forward for amendment by Senator Aliyu Wamako. It was first read on the 8th of November, 2016.
The sections amended were sections 11(1)(a) & (2) which is about increasing the Federal Government’s block grant of not less than 2% of the Consolidated Revenue Fund to 3%; and reducing the States commitment in accessing the funds from 50% to 10%.
The Act has however been amended last Thursday. The amended act now has provision which made primary and secondary education free and compulsory in the country. The two percent budgetary allocation to Universal Basic Education Commission by the Central Government has now been increased to three per cent.
What is yet to be confirmed is whether the state’s commitment in accessing the funds has been reduced below 50%. If this is done, it is expected to facilitate states’ access to the fund.
The quality of basic education in the country is nothing to write home about in spite of the UBE funds, as most of the states in the country either have failed to invest in primary education or fail to monitor their investment in that sector.
It is however pertinent that states become more transparent or accountable on what exactly they spend their UBE funds on. Before the funds could be accessed, states are meant to submit an action plan to UBEC. This action plan which details what each state wants to spend the UBE funds on is nothing but a well kept secret, as no state has since inception made public its action plan.
It is important that this action plans are made public for easy tracking. This is particularly important to encourage citizens’ participation in the drafting of the action plan.
It is not enough that the UBE Act was amended, especially as it increases the Federal government contribution to 3 percent, it is much more important that the processes of using the funds as well as drafting the action plans are made transparent.