Education in Nigeria is more of a public enterprise that has witnessed government complete and dynamic intervention and active participation (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1981). It is the view of the formulated education policy in Nigeria to use education as a vehicle in achieving national development. Education being an instrument of change, in Nigeria education policy has been a product of evolution through series of historical developments.
Education allocation as a percentage of total budgets ranged from 3.3% in 1999 to 9.88% in 1986. A close look at the distribution shows that the pattern of government budgetary allocation to education as a percentage of total budget was not consistent. Instead of maintaining an increasing proportion of the yearly budget, it has been largely fluctuating since introduction of SAP in 1986. Regardless of incessant strikes and negotiation to stimulate governments to increase the proportion, the proportion has been below 8% apart from 1994 and 2002, which were slightly above 9%. Since the oil crisis in the eighties, the proportion of capital budget allocated to education has been consistently lower than the proportion of recurrent expenditure. Over the years, the government capital expenditure allocated to education as a percentage of total capital budget ranged from as low as 1.71 in 1999 and not up to 9% in all cases. Like total budget, the proportion was also not consistent.
In 1998, expenditures were equivalent to 2.3 percent of GDP and to 14.2 percent of the total expenditures of the three tiers of government. A similar but more comprehensive exercise undertaken for 1962 indicated a share of GDP of 3.6 percent and of total government expenditure of 18.2 percent. Further, on average for 19 sub-Saharan African countries in the mid 1990s, education expenditures were equal to 4.7 percent of GDP and 19.6 percent of government expenditure. Precisely, Federal Government expenditures on education are below 10 percent of its overall expenditures (see Table 1). Overall, the shares have varied between 9.9 and 7.6 percent and the trend has been largely downward. Typically, between 70 and 80 percent of expenditures are for recurrent activities. However, in 2000, the capital allocation increased to 45 percent of the total, in line with the overall large increase in capital expenditure in the Federal Government’s budget.