Furor in Nigeria over budget cuts to education and healthcare amid COVID-19 and plans to spend N27 billion on National Assembly renovations

Although we are headquartered in Washington D.C., USA, our reporters and editors are working around the globe to cover what you care about. Become one of our members and help us keep our quality news free and available for all.

Nigeria’s Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an urgent appeal to three UN special rapporteurs urging them to use their “mandates to urgently request the Nigerian government and the leadership of the National Assembly to immediately reverse the unlawful, disproportionate and discriminatory budget cuts to education and healthcare, and to stop the authorities from spending N27bn to renovate the National Assembly complex.”

The special rapporteurs are: Ms. Koumbou Boly Barry, Special Rapporteur on the right to education; Mr. Dainius Puras, Special Rapporteur on the right to health; and Mr. Olivier De Schutter, Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

In the revised 2020 budget approved yesterday, the Federal Government reportedly gave the National Assembly N27bn for the renovation of its complex, and cut health, Universal Basic Education budgets by over 50 percent. While the health budget is reduced from N44.4bn to N25.5bn, the UBE budget is reduced from N111.7bn to just N51.1bn.

In the urgent appeal dated June 3, 2020, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization said: “Nigerian authorities are putting politicians’ allowances and comfort before citizens’ human rights. The budget cuts show failure to address the growing economic and social inequality in the country, and to genuinely address the consequences of COVID-19 on the poor and marginalized groups.”

According to SERAP: “Nigeria’s budget deficits are caused by excessive expenditures on politicians’ allowances and mismanagement. Nigerian authorities would only be able to commit to fiscal discipline if they prioritise cutting the allowances of lawmakers and the costs of governance in general, rather than cutting critical funding for healthcare and education.”

SERAP said: “We believe that alternative policies and measures, such as reducing the costs of governance, including the excessive allowances for high-ranking public officials and the lawmakers, would have been a more appropriate solution to addressing budget deficits, as this would increase the available resources for healthcare and education, which in turn would contribute to reducing socio-economic inequality.”

The urgent appeal, read in part: “Nigerian authorities also ought to show that the budget cuts to healthcare and education are necessary and proportionate, in that they must be justifiable after the most careful consideration of all other less restrictive alternatives, for example excessive allowances for Nigerian lawmakers, and excessive costs of governance, in general.”

“According to SERAP’s information, criteria established in international standards have not been duly justified in the implementation of the budget cuts to healthcare and education. Instead, the cuts appear to be discriminatory against those most vulnerable to poverty and exclusion, and are not protective of the minimum core content of several human rights.”

“One of the pillars of the protection of the rights to healthcare and education is the obligation to progressively realize the rights set out in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, making use Nigeria’s maximum of available resources.”

“The budget cuts by Nigerian authorities are therefore of special concern as they directly affect the minimum core content of these rights, and impact directly or indirectly and disproportionally on those individuals already discriminated against or living in most vulnerable situations.”

“The number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty has increased since May 2015. The reduction in healthcare and education budgets would exacerbate the prevailing inequalities, poverty, and create a vicious circle of reduction in spending, and increments in socio-economic inequalities.”

“Without your urgent intervention, the Nigerian government and National Assembly would continue to spend the country’s maximum available resources to satisfy the opulent lifestyles of politicians rather than complying with Nigeria’s international human rights obligations to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights to healthcare and education the poor and marginalized groups.”

“In compliance with article 2.2 of the Covenant, and the provision on progressive realisation of the rights to healthcare and education, States including Nigeria government and the National Assembly should not adopt impermissible retrogressive measure, unless strictly justifiable.”

“Retrogressive measures, meaning taking steps that would reduce the enjoyment of the rights to healthcare and education, are only permissible under certain strict circumstances.”

“SERAP believes that the onus is on the Nigerian government and the National Assembly to demonstrate that their proposed budget cuts will meet all their human rights obligations, notably by ensuring that measures during times of acute economic distress are legitimate, with the ultimate aim of protecting the totality of human rights.”

“SERAP believes that the budget cuts undermine the minimum core content of the rights to healthcare and education, and are discriminatory, in so far as they would increase socio-economic inequalities and undermine the rights of disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups, who will be disproportionately affected by the cuts.”

“The budget cuts are also inconsistent with Nigeria’s commitments to implement Sustainable Development Goals.”

Read full article

TODAY NEWS AFRICA
TODAY NEWS AFRICAhttps://todaynewsafrica.com
TODAY NEWS AFRICA is registered and headquartered in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America. Our publication is widely read, respected and influential. By providing daily answers to questions our readers have about the people, the businesses and the continent of Africa, we are reaching a diverse and wide audience from around the world. Our readers, many of them world leaders, trust us because we are independent and truthful. Our advertisers understand the difference between news, views and ads. Contact us: [email protected]

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Trending Now

MOST POPULAR

U.S. coronavirus infections break record, hit nearly 46,000 in a single day

The United States recorded nearly 46,000 new coronavirus infections on Friday, the highest number in a single day since the pandemic...

SEE IT: Certified true copy of the conviction of Nigeria’s House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila in the United States for $25,000 theft

The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila was convicted in the state of Georgia in the United States...

UPDATED: Wife of dead Nigerian Senator Bayo Osinowo recovering from COVID-19 as son beats the disease

Alhaja Mariam Osinowo, the wife of Senator Bayo Osinowo who passed away on Monday, is recovering from the novel coronavirus, family...

Followers of popular African prophet TB Joshua claim COVID-19 and global economic devastation confirm his prophecy on humility

The outbreak of COVID-19 has "brought this nation to its knees," Dr Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease...

Nigerian Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu tests positive for coronavirus

The Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has tested positive for coronavirus, he said on Twitter on Tuesday. Ondo is a state...
- Advertisement -

LATEST STORIES

WHO says COVID-19 economic impact in Africa more severe than disease itself as continent struggles to raise remaining $44 billion of $110 billion needed

The economic impact of COVID-19 in Africa is more severe than the disease itself, at least for now, the World Health...

WHO urges strong COVID-19 safety measures in Africa as countries reopen

As African countries begin to reopen borders and air spaces, it is crucial that governments take effective measures to mitigate the...

Daily coronavirus infections in U.S. surpass 50,000 for first time

New reported coronavirus infections in the United States surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday for the first time, with California reporting record 9,740 new...

African Development Bank names former President of Ireland and two legal experts to review ethics report clearing President Adesina

The African Development Bank has named a former President of Ireland, a former attorney general in The Gambia and a Washington...

António Guterres warns the world is in turmoil

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres warned in an opinion piece on Wednesday that the world was in turmoil.

[/read_more]

Read full article

error: Alert: Content is protected !!
Share
Tweet
Share
Pin
WhatsApp