Budget preparation, approval, and implementation in university libraries in Nigeria.

Author:Edegbo, Wilson O.


University education in Nigeria is a post independence creation. Like other post colonial governments, the Nigerian government recognized the importance of and need to invest in higher education.

The universities in Nigeria were, therefore, established to train high level human resources to meet the challenges society is facing. In Nigeria, universities (Emojorho, 2004) are considered to belong to a generation, which refers to the period during which the university was established. There are four indentified generation in Nigeria.

First generation universities were established between 1948 and 1973. These include the Universities of Ibadan, Lagos and Ife. Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Second generation university were established between 1974 and 1979. These include the universities of Calabar; Ilorin, Jos ; Maiduguri; Benin; Sokoto and Bayero University, Kano.

Third generation universities were established between 1980 and 1987. These include Ondo State University, Ado--Ekiti; Ogun State University, Ago--Iwoye; Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma; Abia State University, Uturu; Enugu State University of Science and Technology, Enugu; Lagos State University, Ojo; University of Agriculture, Abeokuta; etc and

Lastly, the fourth generation universities were established between 1988 and 2003. These include the University of Abuja; University of Uyo; Delta State University, Abraka and Benue State University, Markudi.

University education is on high demand, but the capacity of the universities to admit students is constrained by limited infrastructure.

Government has been responsible for financing university education since inception. However, like many African countries, the government has not been able to continue with the level of investment in university education that it began with an early year. These are a number of reason that negatively affected levels of public expenditure on education in Nigeria. The most prominent are general economic recession, growing populations exerting new and expanded demands on the government, debt burden and structural adjustment programmes that led government to introduce policy shifts in all social sectors.

Recently, government introduced adjustment in educational financing in a policy that puts emphasis on the cost sharing. The NPE (1994) states that "the financing of higher education will be a shared responsibility between government, the institution themselves, and students".

Students contribute 25% towards their tuition fees while government pays 75%. Institutions are supposed to meet the bulk of their operational budget from sources other than government whose responsibility should be to finance emoluments; research, staff development, capital developments and libraries (GRZ White paper, 1998).

Universities as a consequence instituted measures to manage the budget deficits caused by decreases in government budget allocations. The measures include reducing expenditure on the activities where political reactions were most manageable for instance, from non--salary categories of the recurrent education budget in particular from expenditures or educational materials and equipment maintenance (Kitaev, 1992).

The Library and Information Service are often among the activities targeted for budget cuts. This is because library and information services have mistakenly been seen as an optional extra when it comes to investing in higher education (ILIAD, 1995).

In Nigeria (Emojorho, 2004 & Nwafor, 1990) university libraries derive funds from government allocations, endowment funds, library fees, gifts and other miscellaneous sources such as the sale of duplicate materials, fines and photocopying. Library revenues and expenditures are systematically divided into two groups--Capital and Recurrent budgets.

Study Context and Problem

Library and information services have been recognized as having an important role to play in higher education. Libraries in academic institutions for a long time have been responsible for providing information materials for purposes of learning, teaching and research. This role of the library is being threatened by inadequate funding for purchase of new books, subscriptions to journals and other information sources. This role is also being challenged by the developments in the field of information and communication technologies (ICTs). The developments in ICT make it possible for information about documents as well as full text documents to be stored and accessed online from any computer in the world connected to the net. Individuals are able to access a wider choice of information bases available within a short period of time.

Provision of access to both physical and online information sources for study, teaching and research required a substantial and sustained investment by universities. The financial position of most universities in developing countries and Nigeria in particular has been weakening over the years.

In the light of government budget cuts, universities financial adjustments have targeted the so called "none political sensitive areas" like library and information services. Libraries, like other departments, prepare annual budget estimates that are incorporated into the university budget submitted to government. But for years, libraries have not received their share at the time of budget implementation approval and preparation as they are not political priority.

It is against this brief background that this study attempts to provide an explanation of the nature of and challenges relating to financing of university libraries in Nigeria.

The Objectives

A formal budget is essential to every organization. In Nigeria University libraries, the requirements to advance library services are considered, but the budget estimate does not survive the various stages of approval. Budgets are usually highly scrutinised and reviewed and there are always a reduction before their approval. Therefore, the inadequacy of the library budget is a worry from the beginning of the budget's implementation.

The general purpose of the study was to investigate the funding situation and the impact that levels of funding to libraries has on the provision of the intended library and information services.

Specifically, the study proposed to

* Explore the nature of university libraries budgeting process;

* Identify factors that determine the proportion of funding for library and information services;

* Examine the effects of the funding situation on the ability to provide the intended library and information services;

* Examine the various sources of revenue in selected Nigerian university libraries; and

* Evaluate the place of budget in the universities.

Research Design

The study was based on four university libraries in Nigeria. To collect data on the position of the library budgeting and its effect on provision of services, both qualitative and quantitative data methods were used. Data collected through the instruments of interviews, questionnaire and analysis of budgets and other official documents.

Data collected through the various techniques discussed earlier were analysed and consolidated for presentation of information on funding trends and acquisition in tables.

For the survey, the University of Ibadan, University of Benin, Ambros Alli University and Delta State University representing the various generations of universities from the first to fourth generations...

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