The Nigerian Government failed to meet capital funding promises worth 101.98bn made to the health and education sectors between 2016 and 2018, Civic Media Lab has discovered.
In the three budgeting cycles, the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has provided full implementation reports for, both ministries were allocated 365.80bn for developmental intents, N263.82bn was released though.
Worse still, the ministries responsible for the wellbeing and learning of Nigerians were only able to spend N228.59bn of the 263.82bn released to them within the three fiscal years.
Despite not having enough, these ministries would have had to return N35.22bn in unused funds throughout these spending cycles.
The education sector has had it worse, however.
The Federal Government was unable to credit this ministry with N75.97bn between 2016 and 2018.
The total allocation made to it was an estimated N195.06bn, N119.09bn was released though.
Although it was allocated almost N200bn, the total funds the education ministry was able to spend on developmental projects within these three fiscal years, is below N100bn.
Data sourced from the quarterly budget implementation report published by the budget office showed that the education ministry, headed by Adamu Adamu, was only able to draw down on N98.95bn – 50.7 per cent of the approved funds, meaning N20.14bn was returned to the consolidated revenue account as unused cash.
The institutions under this ministry would have prepared plans to execute N195.95bn worth of projects on new classrooms, laboratories, purchase of equipment, furniture, refurbish administrative buildings, hostels, etc but were forced to shed N96.10bn of their intentions, due to shortage of funds and late release of whatever was available.
The health sector, on the other axis, was allocated N170.75bn in the appropriation cycles in focus.
Out of the total sum, N144.29bn was released but the sector was only able to spend N129.65bn, meaning the agencies and medical facilities in the parastatal were compelled to do without N41.09bn. The ministry would have returned N15.08bn of this sum to the CBN through, as unutilized cash.
In 2016, President Buhari signed the 2016 budget into law on May 6, 2016. The education ministry was awarded N35.43bn for capital expenditure, while the health ministry received the approval of N28.65bn.
By May 5, 2017, N22.65bn had been released to the ministry responsible for supervising learning, meaning the executive had an unfulfilled guarantee of N12.80bn to the parastatal.
It was only able to spend N20.82bn of the released funds though, meaning N1.83bn was returned to the CBN as unutilized monies.
Schools and agencies under the education ministry were coerced into shrinking their developmental plans for the year by N14.61bn.
Assuming N20m is enough to build a school, about 730 fewer schools were built for Nigeria’s increasing population in 2016.
The Health Ministry was given N28.59bn by the end of the fiscal year, leaving a deficit of N57.50m.
It disbursed N27.80bn, returning an estimated N782.70m to the federal government’s coffers.
Health agencies across the country had a compound sum of N840.44m they were unable to access this year.
Capital provisions to both ministries improved in 2017.
Education was still not a priority of the government, the deficit between appropriated funds and the amount released widened.
When the budget was signed by the acting president on June 13, 2017, N56.73bn was approved for education, more than N20bn than the N35.43bn approved in the previous year.
By June 12 2018, N33.42bn had been released to the 23 plus parastatals, unity schools and tertiary institutions under the ministry for projects.
This left a deficit of N23.30bn.
The institutions in the ministry cashed in N31.61bn before June 12, forcing it to return N1.81bn.
Its designs for the year were cut by a margin of 25.10bn.
Again, the medical facilities and research agencies under the ministry of health were allocated less than those in education.
The disparity was well reduced though.
The President signed-off N55.60bn to the Federal Ministry of Health on June 13 2017.
One year later, N52.70bn was released, living a balance of approximately N3bn. The ministry had cashed out N48.85bn of the approved sum before the clock ticked into another fiscal year, mandating it to return N3.80bn.
The federal agencies in the health sector were forced to summarize their spending by an estimated aggregate margin of N6.80bn.
On June 20 2018, the President appended his signature to a budget that gave the education ministry more money than it accessed in three appropriation cycles.
As at June 19 of the next year, Mr Adamu’s ministry had received N63.02bn out of the N102.90bn the President approved.
The balance of N39.88bn the ministry was not given, is more than its 2016 appropriation.
Sadly, only 45 per cent or N46.51bn was disbursed by the ministry at the end of the 2018 fiscal year.
This means the ministry had to part with N16.50bn in unused funds.
If this unutilized sum was devoted to building classrooms at a cost of N1m per unit, at list 16,000 would have been constructed, providing an environment for 480,000 pupils to learn, assuming 30 are assigned to each.
Overall, the Education Ministry’s planned expenditure had a tear of approximately N56.40bn.
The 2018 budget created a wide rift between approved appropriation and the amount given to the Health Ministry when compared to the other two years. The President sealed a spending document that gave 86.50bn to the ministry.
By June 19, 2019, though, N63.42bn had been released, causing a gap of N23.04bn in the plans of the parastatal.
The ministry was, however, able to access N53bn of the capital envelope by the time the budgeting cycle was over, compelling it to return N10.49bn that could have been used to purchase over 69,000 ICU beds, at an assumed price of N150,000. The actual deficit in planning for the health parastatal in 2018 comes to N33.50bn
The executive showed where its priorities do not lie by shrinking funding to the education and Health Ministry by more than 54 and 42 per cent in a revised budget, which cut less than it promised to.
The programme director at Human Development initiative (HDI), Ibidapo Johnson, expressed concerns about this. With a renewed call for almajiris to be reintegrated into existing school structures, Johnson wonders where they would sit to learn.
“As at today, Nigeria has 13.2m plus pupils out of school. Let’s say 5 million of these children return to school after COVID-19. What do you think will happen? The education system might just collapse,” he says.
Mr Johnson, whose organisation monitors the implementation of Universal Basic education funded projects across the country, said this had become the only source of investment in learning at the subnational level.
“We have discovered from our findings that states which use UBE interventions are only able to service less than 10 per cent of the total number of schools in their state. That is why it is called an intervention; unfortunately, you will find most states relying on this.”
While analysts are calling for Nigeria to strengthen its health care system ahead of other pandemics and strengthen the educational system to provide well-trained graduates, the executive appears to have divergent interests.