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Fact-Checking Kingsley Moghalu At The 2019 Presidential Debate

SUMMARY:

CLAIMS:

1.108 million Nigerians are homeless

ANS: UNPROVEN. While there is no publicly available data to confirm or refute this, development experts have always argued that it is near-difficult to have harmonised data on homelessness, especially in developing countries like Nigeria.

2. 7 % of the Nigerian budget goes to education

ANS: TRUE. Only 7% of the total budget size (since 2016 and under the administration of President Buhari) has been allocated to the education sector and this figure has never gone beyond 7.2%!

3. 80% of education budget is for recurrent expenditure

ANS: TRUE. NBS reports show that the actual allocation to the education sector from 2016 till date (covering Buhari’s government) with a special focus on ‘recurrent allocation’ is 80%

4. 3% of  budget is allocated to health

ANS: FALSE. NBS reports show that the health budget prepared by this current government, that is, from 2016 till date, has been about 4%, not 3% as claimed.

5. 1 billion dollars lost to medical tourism every year

ANS: TRUE. Research shows that through an average of 9,000 medical tours occurring monthly from Nigeria to other countries, the nation losses 1.35 billion dollars annually to medical tourism, with India being the major beneficiary of 500 visits monthly.

FULL TEXT:

Kingsley Moghalu, the presidential candidate for the Young Progressives Party (YPP) made the most assertive statements during the debate. Of all the claims he made, we were able to verify a few. Here’s a more detailed explanation on these claims and the truth about them:

[See our previous fact-check on the vice presidential debate. See also our fact-check of Oby Ezekwesili]

CLAIM 1 108 million Nigerians are homeless

EXPLAINER – UNPROVEN

Last December, Mustapha Shehuri, the Minister of State for Power, Works and Housing, expressed concerns over lack of housing for more than 70 million Nigerians. Mr Shehuri told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that “the development was worrisome to the Federal Government.’’

But in 2017, the Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR) said the country has made over 108 million Nigerians technically homeless.

The bureau described the 100,000 houses built yearly in the country as insufficient, adding that it was time for stakeholders to join government’s efforts in providing affordable houses for the people by taking advantage of the ongoing Federal Integrated Staff Housing (FISH) programme.

According to the global homelessness statistics, there are an estimated 24.4 million homeless people in Nigeria due to rapid urbanization, insecurity and poverty, and according to data obtained from the UNHCR report in 2007, there are indications that the figures would have ballooned.

Development experts have always argued that it is near-difficult to have harmonised data on homelessness, especially in developing countries. So while we await a response from Kingsley Moghalu, we rate this as UNPROVEN.

CLAIM 2 7 % of the Nigerian budget goes to education

EXPLAINER – TRUE

Mr. Kingsley Moghalu lamented that only 7% of the Nigerian budget goes to education. He attributed the poor allocation to the rather poor state of the nation’s educational standard. Although he made no specific reference to a particular year, but for the sake of this research, we will examine education budget prepared by this current government, that is from 2016 till date.

In 2016, out of the N6.08 trillion total budget size, according to the Budget Office of the Federation, a total allocation of N480,278,214,688 was allocated for education; a figure which represents 7.8% of the entire budget size.

In 2017, the total allocation to the education sector was N550 Billion which represents  7.4% of N7.4 trillion budget. The breakdown of the N550 billion allocated in 2017 was N398 billion for recurrent expenditure, N56 billion for capital expenditure and N95 billion to the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).

In 2018, the total sum allocated to the sector was N605.8 billion, with N435.1 billion for recurrent expenditure, N61.73 billion for capital expenditure and N109.06 billion for UBEC. This represents only 7.04% of the 8.6 trillion budget for education.

Our research on the 2019 budget proposal reveals that of the total allocation of  N8.6 trillion, a total of N620.5 billion was allocated to the education sector, a figure which represents 7.2%.

Based on these shreds of evidence, it is safe to say that only 7% of the total budget size (since 2016 and under the administration of President Buhari) is allocated to the education sector. It has never gone beyond 7.2%!

CLAIM 3 80% of the education budget is for recurrent expenditure

EXPLAINER – TRUE

While also speaking on the state of education, Kingsley Moghalu claimed that about 80% of Nigeria’s education budget is on recurrent expenditure. Like in Claim 2 above where he failed to specifically talk about a year, we will be examining the actual allocation to education sector from 2016 till date (covering Buhari’s government) with a special focus on ‘recurrent allocation’. After all, Mr Moghalu specifically talked about recurrent expenditure gulping 80% of budgetary allocation the education sector.

[For a detailed explanation on capital and recurrent expenditure, see our previous fact-check.]

In 2016, according to the Budget Office of the Federation, out of a total allocation of N480,278,214,688 to education, N35,433,487,466 was for capital allocation while a total of N444,844,727,222 was for recurrent expenditure which represents 92% of the total allocation to the education sector.

In 2017, the total allocation to the education sector was N550 billion which represents  7.4% of N7.4 trillion budget. The breakdown shows that N398 billion for recurrent expenditure which represents 72% of the total allocation, N56 billion for capital expenditure which represents 10% of total allocation and N95 billion to UBEC which represents 17.2% of the total allocation to the education sector.

In 2018, a total of N605.7 billion was allocated to the ministry of education, out of which N544 billion which represent 89.9% was allocated to recurrent expenditure while N61.7 billion representing 10.08% was voted for capital expenditure.

In the 2019 budget proposal, of the total allocation of N620,503,169,028 to the ministry of education, the sum of N573,211,835,706 was allocated to recurrent expenditure while N47,291,333,322 was allocated to capital. This represents 92.4% recurrent and 7.58% capital allocations.

This claim is rated TRUE.

CLAIM 4 3% of the budget is allocated to health

EXPLAINER – FALSE

He also made no specific reference to a particular year, but for the sake of this research, we will examine the health budget prepared by this current government, that is, from 2016 to date.

In 2016, out of the N6.08 trillion total budget size, a total allocation of N250,062,891,075 was allocated for health; a figure which represents 4.1% of the entire budget size.

In 2017, the total allocation to the education sector was N304,190,961,402 which represents  4.1% of N7.4 trillion of the budget. The breakdown shows that N51,315,564,740 was for recurrent expenditure and N252,875,396,662 for capital expenditure.

In the 2018 budget proposal presented to the National Assembly in December 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari allocated only 4% of the N8.6 trillion to the health sector.

The total sum allocated to the sector in 2018 was thus N340.4 billion, with N269.3  billion for recurrent expenditure and N71.1 billion for capital expenditure.

CLAIM 5 1 billion dollars lost to medical tourism every year

EXPLAINER – TRUE

In November 2018 while launching the ‘120 Watts Holmium Laser equipment’ popularly called Moses Technology  procured by Kelina Hospital in Abuja, the National Secretary, Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), Dr. Theophilus Ndubuaku, revealed that Nigeria losses N359.2 billion to medical tourism annually, a figure more than the N340.45 billion allocated to the health sector in the 2018 budget.

Although represented by the Chief Medical Director, National Hospital, Dr Jafaru   Momoh, Dr Theophilus added that  “Through an average of 9,000 medical tours occurring monthly from Nigeria to other countries, the nation losses 1.35 billion dollars annually to medical tourism, with India being the major beneficiary of 500 visits monthly. Many Nigerians who travel out of the country for their medical  needs often have to go back monthly for check-ups and sometimes for corrective surgery.”

Interestingly, this research reveals that India is Nigerians’ top destination and of the approximately $1 billion spent on medical tourism, cancer patients seeking treatment abroad spend $1 million.

Akintunde Babatunde is a program officer with the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism. A dedicated researcher, channeling his skills towards the unveiling of political propaganda and demystifying the secrecy associated with government projects. A diligent and hardworking intellectual, he holds a bachelor’s degree in educational management and mathematics.

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