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ASUU strike: Buhari proposes N470bn for universities, says FG alone can’t fund tertiary education

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that government alone cannot continue to find tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

The President stated this while delivering his speech on the presentation of the 2023 budget proposal before a joint session of the national assembly on Friday.

Drawing reference from the practice in some other climes, Buhari said that government will adopt other measures to properly fund education in Nigeria.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been on strike since 14 February, over the government’s failure to implement the 2009 agreement and dispute over the IPPIS.

Mr Buhari, in his speech, said lecturers “show a better appreciation of the current state of affairs in the country.”

He stated that to resolve the problem, the government has “provided a total of N470.0 billion in the 2023 budget from our constrained resources, for revitalization and salary enhancements in the tertiary institutions.”

Mr Buhari stressed that government alone cannot finance tertiary education. He stated that in other countries, tertiary education is financed by the government and the people.

“It is instructive to note that today Government alone cannot provide the resources required for funding tertiary education.

In most countries, the cost of education is jointly shared between the government and the people, especially at the tertiary level. It is imperative, therefore that we introduce a more sustainable model of funding tertiary education,” he said.

Mr Buhari added that the government is committed to implementing the agreement with ASUU and other bodies within available resources.

He stressed that his government will not sign any agreement it is not committed to implementing.

“The Government remains committed to the implementation of agreements reached with staff unions within available resources. This is why we have remained resolute that we will not sign any agreement that we would be unable to implement. Individual institutions would be encouraged to keep faith with any agreement reached in due course to ensure stability in the educational sector,” he said.

Mr Buhari also disclosed that the government is committed to other levels of education. He said N15 billion has been allocated to the Safe School Declaration.

“We ratified the Safe Schools Declaration in 2019. We remain committed to the effective implementation of our Safe Schools Policy.

“A total of 15.2 billion Naira has been specifically provided in the 2023 Budget to scale up current measures to provide safer and conducive learning environment in our schools,” he said.


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