During the scrutiny by the Senate Committee on Education, it was discovered that the education budget was bloated by over N10 billion.
Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwuka, was lost for words when he was confronted with questions on how the personnel budget for pararastatals under the ministry was hiked from N88,199,311,758 billion in 2015 to N98,181,570,237 billion in 2016 budget document.
The minister claimed ignorance of the increase and pleaded with the committee to take the matter up with the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Folasade Yemi-Esan.
Senate Chief Whip, Olusola Adeyeye, who is also a member of the committee, drew the attention of his colleagues to the fact that in 2015, personnel cost was N88,119,758, and pointedout that it was increased to N98,181,570,237 billion in this year’s budget proposal.
Angered by the revelation, committee chairman and former governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamakko, asked Anwuka to explain the increase.
The minister claimed he was not part of the budget preparation. He again diplomatically requested Wamakko to direct the question to the permanent secretary.
On her part, Mrs Yemi-Esan said: “The variants, it depends on the number of people that still exist on the IPPIS. So, it’s an automatic thing. As people retire, automatically, the balance comes down. So, if they are not replaced by new staff, then, we will have this variant. So, it is not that we lost some money. If during the year, a number of people retired, then the balance at the end of the year will be reduced.
“This is just an aggregation of all the parastatals. So, we will look at it and see which ones because it’s offhand now. I don’t know which ones had the increase or if there is a marginal increase across board because what we have done here is to put together all the parastatals. But, we can look at the details and find out which ones are increasing. But, having this was not something that was imposed on the universities or polytechnics. They submitted their personnel cost. It is not an imposition. It is what each university submit that we collate and put together.”
Not satisfied with Yemi-Esan’s response, the committee directed the ministry to reappear and make proper presentation to explain the padded budget. (Daily Sun)