The shortfalls in budgetary allocations and disparities in overheads submitted by the Federal Ministry of Education, polytechnics, Colleges of Education as well as the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) totalling N5.3 billion yesterday attracted the attention of the House of Representatives Committee on Education which hosted the ministry to its 2014 budget defence.
Some of the shortfalls, particularly those of polytechnics, were as result of the new staff employed, thereby migrating from their previous emolument status to a new one.
Another issue, which the committee chairman, Mr. Aminu Suleiman (APC, Kano), drew attention to was that some provisions in the sub-heads of the ministryâ€™s allocation N493.5bn budget, are for travels, conferences and others â€œwhich are not issues requiring attention.â€
In view of these, the committee directed the ministry to work closely with the various institutions which had different proposals from its own to harmonise their positions.
It also indicated that it may review, in consultation with the ministry, certain provisions for trips that are not really in the overall interest of the development of education in the country.
Suleiman told the Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, to address all lapses, saying: â€œwe will scrutinise the allocations and see where it is necessary to shift some from one area to another.â€
He added: â€œWhere there is important need to travel, it is okay to do so. But it shouldnâ€™t be a jamboree.â€
In his defense, Wike said â€œno amount was too much for training. However, you make use of whatever is available,â€ he argued, reasoning that all areas for which allocations had been made are significant.
The highlight of the proposed budget of the ministry, which fell short of its 2013 mark are N12.9 billion allocation to the ministry alone.
There is also a provision of N1.5 billion as liability arising from a total liability of N3.7 billion that accumulated within the last five years.