By Charles Igwe
In the 2023 supplementary budget proposal, the Nigerian federal government has set aside N5.5 billion for an education loan fund and N5.095 billion for the Nigeria Navy’s initiatives, including the acquisition of a presidential yacht.
These allocations have been detailed in the budget expenditures for Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs).The Nigerian Navy’s budget outlines a total of approximately N62.8 billion, encompassing N20.42 billion for recurring expenses and N42.3 billion for capital expenditures. The naval budget includes provisions for vehicle purchases, construction of naval bases in Lekki and Epe, equipment procurement, and ammunition acquisition.
To address student loan concerns, the federal government proposes establishing an education loan fund with a N5.5 billion allocation as part of the 2023 supplementary budget’s capital supplementation, which totals N210.5 billion.The Access to Education Act, also known as the Student Loan Act, was sponsored by Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila and passed by the ninth National Assembly. President Tinubu signed it into law in June.
This act aims to resolve ongoing labor strikes within Nigerian higher education institutions and provide interest-free loans to students across the nation.President Bola Tinubu has emphasized the need for the student loan program to commence in January 2024, addressing the recurring issue of strikes by staff unions in Nigerian higher education institutions, such as ASUU and ASUP.
These strikes are often triggered by financial constraints and a lack of institutional autonomy.In 2022, Nigerian universities suffered from approximately eight months of lost teaching due to strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), further highlighting the pressing need for educational reforms.