The Federal Government of Nigeria has proposed the allocation of N5.095 billion for the purchase of a Presidential yacht and N5.5 billion for the education loan fund in the 2023 supplementary budget, according to details obtained by Nairametrics.
The 2023 supplementary appropriation details reveal these budget allocations, which are part of the capital expenditure for the Nigerian Navy and an education loan fund to support students pursuing higher education.
The Nigerian Navy’s budget proposal includes a capital expenditure of N42.3 billion and a recurrent expenditure of N20.42 billion, resulting in a total budget of approximately N62.8 billion. In addition to the Presidential yacht, the Navy’s proposed expenditures encompass various initiatives such as the acquisition of vehicles, the construction of naval bases in Lekki and Epe, the provision of critical equipment, and the purchase of ammunition.
Under the capital supplementation for the 2023 supplementary budget, the Federal Government has allocated N5.5 billion for the education loan fund, which is designed to fund student loans. This funding is part of the broader capital supplementation totaling N210.5 billion for the 2023 supplementary budget.
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. It was subsequently signed into law by President Bola Tinubu in June. The primary objective of this law is to provide interest-free loans to students attending higher education institutions across Nigeria, with the aim of addressing the issues of insufficient funding and frequent industrial actions that have affected higher education institutions in the country.
President Bola Tinubu, in a recent address at the Nigeria Economic Summit, emphasized the urgency of implementing the student loan program, stating that it “must begin in January 2024” after initial delays.
Nigerian higher education institutions have been grappling with recurring industrial actions, primarily led by staff unions such as the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP). These strikes have been triggered by issues related to inadequate funding, lack of institutional autonomy, and other long-standing grievances. In recent years, these actions have led to significant disruptions in the academic calendar, with students losing months of learning due to prolonged strikes. The student loan program is seen as a crucial step to address some of these challenges and ensure the uninterrupted pursuit of higher education in the country.