19 October 2018

Nigeria: NEC Moves to Declare State of Emergency in Education

The National Economic Council (NEC) is working towards declaring a state of emergency in the nation's education sector.

The deputy governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu, disclosed this to state house correspondents at the end of the monthly meeting of the council presided over by vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo.

All the 36 state governors are members of the council.

Mr Shaibu said a final decision on the matter would be taken at the next council meeting holding in November.

He said the council, at its Thursday meeting, received interim report from its ad-hoc committee on the revival of education in Nigeria.

The deputy governor said the committee recommended that all state governors should declare a state of emergency on education.

He said the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had on June 28, 2018, made a presentation on the "National Education Policy, Prospects, Challenges and Way Forward" to the council.

Based on the presentation, he said the NEC set up an Ad-hoc Committee on the Revival of the Education Sector in Nigeria, to review and submit recommendations.

He said, "The Ad-hoc committee submitted an interim report to the council. The Committee observed that a multi-frontal approach is 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.

"The committee strongly recommends 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 Ministry of Education.

"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 and Technical, Vocational Education and Training, strengthening basic education, prioritising teacher education, capacity building and professional development, ensuring quality and access in tertiary education, promoting ICT in education, boosting library services in education etc.

"The report asked all governors to declare a state of emergency in the education sectors of their respective states and demonstrate their commitment to revamping education."

Mr Shaibu said the committee recommended that the Federal Government and states should allocate a minimum of 15 per cent of their budgets to education in order to revolutionise the sector.

He said the governments were also advised to constitute special task force to manage the funds and oversee the infrastructural overhaul of selected schools for intervention across the federation.

"Council decided that while the interim report is being reviewed by members of the council, a more detailed report be prepared and presented at the next NEC meeting when decisions would be taken on the proposed recommendations," he said.

"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.

"It is 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," he added.

According to a report on Punch Newspaper, the deputy governor also talked about a report on States Gross Domestic Product computation for 11 states between 2013 and 2017 as presented by the National Bureau of Statistics.

He said the essence of the SGDP computation was to ascertain the sizes of the economy in states, how much state contribute to the nation's economy, the sector which is best to invest in a particular state, the key sectors that can drive growth, create employment and generate tax revenue for states, and the sectors that need government intervention or support .

Mr Shaibu said the computation started in 2012 with seven pilot states: Rivers, Lagos, Gombe, Cross River, Kano, Anambra and Niger, 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.

"Council was invited to note that the 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," he said.

He said the selected states accounted for N33.3trn in nominal GDP or 29.3 per cent 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."

According to him, the remaining states who are yet to pay are Abia, Adamawa, Benue, Borno, Imo Katsina, Kebbi, Kwara, Nassarawa and Plateau, noting that they will be included in 2019.

Similarly, the Bauchi State governor, Mohammed Abubakar, said the issue of the new minimum wage was not discussed at the meeting.

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 is a negotiating process and it is still ongoing.

We are represented by six governors in the committee. It is a work in progress and I am sure we will get to the Promised Land."

The governor also said the federal government was right in placing conditions for the release of the final tranche of Paris Club refund.

"The Federal Government was right in placing those conditions."

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