YIAGA Africa-Centre for Legislative Engagement (YIAGA-CLE) with support from the European Union undertook an analysis of the 2018 Appropriation bill from a youth perspective to ascertain the Federal government’s priority for youth development based on the budget proposal and its responsiveness to the needs young people. The analysis looked at the budget for the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development and some social and economic including the budget for the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the budget for the Social Investment Program (SIP) and the budget for the National Directorate of Employment.
Considering that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development’s (FMYSD) was created with the mandate to provide overarching policy direction and coordination for youth development in Nigeria, the focus on the budget for the ministry was to ensure that the budget was structured to fulfil the Ministry’s mission of providing the necessary infrastructure, sustainable framework, policies to enhance the development of the Nigerian Youth, the protection of their rights and continuous improvement of the quality of life for the entire citizenry and making Nigeria one of the leading sporting nations in the world.
The budget for the Ministry is divided in into four parts according to the four parastatals under the Ministry. This include; the FMYSD – Head Quarters (HQ), the Centre for Citizenship and Leadership, the National Youth Service Corps, the Nigeria Football Federation and The Nigeria Institute for Sports.
The FMYSD has been allocated 1.4% of theN8.612trillion budget proposal of the 2018 Federal Government budget, this amounts to N116,220,852,559. A breakdown of this budget indicates that the recurrent budget consisting Salaries and Overheads takes a larger share of 95% while the capital budget which funds projects and programmes is only 5%.
General observation on the FMYSD budget
Generally, it is observed that the FMYSD budget is very lean when compared to the role it is expected to perform. A break-down of the budget indicates that the recurrent expenditure as it is currently proposed gulps 95% of the budget while the capital expenditure is limited to only 5% of the budget. This at first instance presents a major challenge considering that share of capital is lopsided and fails to meet the government’s policy of 70 to 30 for recurrent and capital budgets. Interestingly, most of the expenditure lines are administrative in nature. In other words, priority is placed on procurement of items such as vehicles, computers, furniture fittings, repairs of offices etc.
In addition, the proposed budget for the FMYSD introduced too many new projects, which are underfunded with the likelihood to result in several incomplete projects thus adding to the growing number of abandoned projects. Details of budget line were not explicit to ensure transparency and fiscal responsibility. For instance, budget items in the FMYSD – HQ and the Nigeria Football Federation budget for sporting activities within the recurrent budget were not clearly stated. Both agencies could end up expending public resources for same activities if the type, location and beneficiaries are not clearly stated. Some of the specific observations include:
- The review of FMYSD budget shows that all the agencies did not apply the principles of good budgeting. Budgets of agencies were unrealistic given the magnitude of the problem and challenges youth face in Nigeria.
- The review of the national Youth policy tagged as an ongoing project means it was not completed in the last fiscal year. It is not clear if the amount budgeted for this fiscal year will be enough to complete the process. A national Youth Policy should be current and developed to address present day challenges while acting as a guide to develop relevant youth intervention in Nigeria.
- 49 new projects of FMYSD –HQ are too many resulting in a lean budget spread across many activities.
- Budgets for entrepreneurship and skills building aretoo lean to yield any significance in numbers of youths reached or results.
- A budget of N15m each for 40 Federal Universities, 21 Federal Polytechnics and over 100 Unity Schools respectively for sports equipments is lean. It is not clear how many schools in each category will benefit from these equipments
- Youth training on citizenship and leadership should be prioritized in the FMYSD 2018 budget, given the worrisome trends in youth agitations across the Country.
- Public private partnerships for the provision of entrepreneurship, vocational and sporting activities through the agencies should be encouraged and such budgets captured within public funding to ensure accountability.
- The Ministry should adjust its pattern of allocation to the 70:30 percent rule for Recurrent and Capital budget respectively, reflecting the policy on public finance
- Allocations to youth programmes should be strictly for young persons. Lumping budgets for youth with women was seen across most of the sectors. Although both are vulnerable groups their needs are surely different.
- It is therefore recommended that the MDAs adjusts the pattern of allocation to the 70:30 percent rule for Recurrent and Capital budget respectively, reflecting the policy on public finance management which the Federal Government has adjusted to.
- New projects within agencies should be reduced to a manageable number that will allow for optimal funding of project and possible completion within the medium term, depending on the size of the project.
- Projects on entrepreneurship, vocational skills should be adequately funded or left to specific ministries with direct functions such as NDE. There is need to harmonize youth programmes to ensure synergies and reduce duplications – a guideline on responsibility and budget priority for youth within federal agencies should be produced by the FMYSD.
- To avoid duplications, budgets for Sporting Activities in FMYSD-HQ and the Nigeria Football Federation should provide details on type, location and target audience. This will ensure a more transparent and efficient allocation of resources.
- Youth training on Leadership is very important. The Citizens and Leadership Centre’s budget should be increased to provide at least 6 zonal leadership programmes yearly. The agency should also reflect it revenue generating capacity within its budget.
- Public private partnerships for the provision of entrepreneurship and sporting activities through the relevant agencies should be encouraged and such budgets captured within public funding to ensure accountability
- The MDA’s should budget separately for youth activities from that of women and children. Since this is an area of intervention that needs strategic approach, it is important that allocations are separated; this will also enable tracking of funds and oversight of budget.
In conclusion, YIAGA-CLE is of the opinion that the budget of the Ministry as proposed is unrealistic given the magnitude of the youth demography and challenges youth face in Nigeria. This challenge is not peculiar to the budget of just the FMYSD but extends to the other social and economic sector that directly or indirectly impacts on youth development. Identifying this challenge and underscoring the importance of inclusive budgeting that meets the needs of the youth, YIAGA-CLE has designed a toolkit for Youth Development. This toolkit will be presented to the Committee of Youth Development and partners working to promote youth development. This toolkit will further strengthen the oversight function of the Committee for regulatory supervision of public expenditure to ensure transparency and accountability of public resources that truly meet the need of young people in Nigeria.