THE National Economic Council, NEC, has directed the 36 Governors of the federation to declare a state of emergency on the education sector.
The action is aimed at addressing the issue of out-of-school children, promoting adult literacy and special needs education, reviving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, STEM, and Technical, Vocational Education and Training, TVET, among others.
In the meantime, Governors have supported President Muhammadu Buhari’s position that states that have not paid salaries should not benefit from the last trench of Paris Club Refund. Briefing State House correspondents after the monthly NEC meeting chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chamber Presidential Villa Abuja, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Comrade Philip Shuaibu stated that the meeting deliberated on the report of the NEC ad-hoc committee on the revival of the education sector in Nigeria.
He said that it was resolved that “all Governors to declare a state of emergency in the education sectors of their respective states and demonstrate their commitment to revamping education.” Comrade Shuaibu explained that the ad-hoc committee’s interim report observed that a multi-frontal approach was required to tackle the various factors militating against the achievement of the nation’s educational objectives, in view of the multi-dimensional nature of the crisis in the education sector.
He said the committee strongly recommended that the federal government, states and local governments collaborate to vigorously implement, and sustain action on the 10 pillars of the Ministerial Strategic Plan developed by the Federal Ministry of Education.
He said, “Among the areas of attention are: the issue of out-of-school children, promoting adult literacy and special needs education, reviving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET), strengthening basic education, prioritizing teacher education, capacity building and professional development, ensuring quality and access in tertiary education, promoting ICT in education, boosting library services in education etc.”
He further stated that NEC resolved that the federal and state governments should allocate a minimum of 15 percent of their budgets to education in order to revolutionalise the sector, as well as constitute special task force to manage the funds and oversee the infrastructural overhaul of selected schools for intervention across the federation. He said Council decided that while the interim report was being reviewed by the members of the Council, a more detailed report should be prepared and presented at the next NEC meeting when decisions would be taken on the proposed recommendations.
He said, “There is a strategic plan developed by the federal ministry of education beyond that you know the world is going global and technology is driving the world, if you look deeply, our major areas of development beyond infrastructure is the basic education and teachers and the council discovered that we need to also look into the area of technical education and out of school children.
“If we address basic education and the foundation is well laid at that level, obviously the secondary and tertiary education would have been half solved, declaring state of emergency is at the basic and we must look at the indices that make up our challenges especially at the area of technology.
“So, the ministerial plan is for all the states and local government to key in so that all will be on the same page. Its not going to be one of those documents that will be kept aside, and we are all unanimous in addressing it and all the states have agreed on this.”
Shuaibu also briefed on states Gross Domestic Computation (SGDP) for 11 states (2013-2017) explaining that the background of the computation was to know the sizes of the economy in each of States, how much do a Nigerian state contribute to the Nigerian economy, what sector is best to invest in a particular State, what are the key sectors that can drive growth, create employment and generate tax revenue for the states, and which sector need government intervention or support .
He recalled that States GDP Computation started in 2012 with Seven pilot States; Rivers, Lagos, Gombe, Cross River, Kano, Anambra and Niger State, following the expressed interests of states to measure their economic competitiveness over time, understand the structure of their economies and assess contribution to national output. He said analytical results of the 11 states accounted for N 33.3 trillion in nominal GDP He said Council was invited to note that National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has completed the first phase of the SGDP exercise involving 11 states for the five year period covering 2013-2017 across the 46 economic activities.
According to him, “The selected states accounted for 33.3 trillion Naira in nominal GDP or 29.3% of national GDP in 2017 Data on States GDP is generally useful to support evidence-based policy making. “Efforts are ongoing to complete the next phase of compilation for the remaining 25 states and the FCT as follows; 2nd Phase: -Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Anambra, Gombe, Bauchi, Ebonyi, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Lagos, Ondo, Jigawa, kogi, Niger, FCT Remaining states yet to pay Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Imo Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Nassarawa and Plateau will be included in 2017, or 29% of national nominal GDP when the Ministry of Budget and National Planning confirms payment made.”
The NEC which comprised of the governors and ministers in the Economic Management Team, including Minister of Finance, Minister of Budget and National Planning as well as the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, failed to discuss on the Minimum wage.
Also briefing newsmen, the Governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar said that the issue of minimum wage was not discussed at the NEC meeting because the negotiation is still ongoing..
He said, “That was not discussed at the National Economic Council meeting. Secondly, governors are part and parcel of the negotiation, the governors have not taken a decision either way because it’s a negotiating process and its still ongoing. We are represented by six governors in the committee, it’s a work in progress and am sure we will get to the promised land.”
On Paris Club and ability of states to meet the conditions, he said, “The federal government was right in placing those conditions, it is necessary when you are getting such huge amount of money and there are things of owing workers salary, that issue must be addressed and if a state does not meet that the federal government will be right to hold on to the funds until they get commitment of all states to meet this basic responsibility.”
He added that the Excess Crude Account is $2.09 billion for the month, the Stabilization Account, N21.98 billion and the Natural Resources, N129.719 billion.