By Chioma Ndife
Sequel to the proposed 2023 budget defence by various ministries, agencies and departments in Anambra State, a non-governmental organization, Civil Rights Concern, has called the attention of the House Committee on Education to some matters that have adversely affected Implementation of basic education programmes in the state.
In a document presented to the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon Beverly Nkemdiche Ikpeazu, the spokesman of the NGO, Okey Onyeka, said the group had drawn the government’s attention to the various issues affecting educational programmes, saying that the matter was in respect of payment of the counterpart fund for Universal Education (UBE).
Part of the documents read ‘Currently, Anambra State has an outstanding balance of over 3 billion Naira in Universal Basic Education Account that could be pulled down into the State UBEC Account for implementation of Basic Education programmes in the state. The only requirement to get the money to drop into the State account is the payment of the counterpart fund by the government.
‘The state is currently looking for funds to implement its budget for 2022 and 2023 while it has over 3 billion in the UBEC Account that it could access. We believe that it is cheaper to pay the counterpart fund and get the money. Anambra is among the three states that have such huge balance; as much as three billion Naira outstanding in their name. The other states are Imo and Ogun, while the other states have comparatively lower figure as at the end of 2021.
It further read, ‘We are also concerned that the implementation of free Education Programme of the state is not well defined. The government defined its programme on this until 2014 when the succeeding administration came in and did not give it any attention. We are constrained to request the Honourable House to ask the ministry and its agency to specify the commitments that it is undertaking on the implementation of Free Universal Basic Education Programme in the state.
The group disclosed its interest in drawing attention to Implementation of Skilled BasedBasic Education as specified in the UBEC Programmes, saying that if commitments were not taken on the issues, it would never happen as budgeting would not be focused on it. They noted that policy implementation on getting quality education would not be easy if government was not better focused on its work of giving quality education to the pupils.