The Senate Committee on Education discovered the amount at the commencement of its 2016 budget defence, the amount was suspiciously hidden in the ministry’s parastatals, exactly N9,982,258,479.
According to the Senate Committee, the parastatals allocation for the year increased at geometric progression by almost N10 billion while the entire personnel cost for the ministry and all its subsidiaries declined drastically when compared to the amount budgeted for 2015.
To this end, the committee chairman, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, ruled that the permanent secretary and the minister should go back to the drawing board and come up with a more sensible overhead cost, saying its findings was that the huge sum was deliberately hidden under parastatals’ personnel cost.
Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka,who appeared before the Senate Committee on Secondary School Education for budget defence, in company of the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan, gave account of the education budget performance in 2015.
However, after the submission, Senate Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye, queried the rationale behind the increase in only the budget of parastatals by about N10 billion while the budget of universities reduced by as much N16 billion.
If you look at personnel cost on page 28, almost every sub-sector of the ministry lost some money except parastatals that got increase. What is special about the parastatals that they gained more than universities, colleges, polytechnics and unity schools? Why should the parastatals that are meant to serve them keep growing in personnel cost?
The concerned party agreed to go back and look into it.
We will go back and find the aggregate of the parastatals put together so that we can look into the details and find out those that are increasing and the difference between them.
The Permanent secretary had said.
Dissatisfied by that response, Adeyeye further insisted that:
The budget of the parastatals have N9 billion extra while others lose money. We can’t have a situation where schools are losing money and parastatals are gaining. How did parastatals have such a quantum leap?
Responding again, Yemi-Esan said the reduction in personnel budgets of schools and colleges was not imposed on them rather it was what the ministry collated and submitted as their personnel costs.