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    Thursday, April 6, 2023

    FG Disburses N320bn Intervention to Varsities, Others

    …as TETFund targets N500 billion education tax collection

    President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N320 billion for disbursement by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for 2023 direct intervention to public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country.

    Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono announced this on Wednesday in Abuja at the annual strategic planning workshop organised by TETFund for the heads of beneficiary public institutions at TETFund headquarters.

    Public Universities got the lion share of N1.1 billion comprising N954 million as annual direct disbursement and N200 million zonal intervention.

    While presenting letters of allocation to the Vice-Chancellors, Rectors and Provosts who were present at the event, Echono said the Fund is looking forward to its desired goal of achieving the N500 billion Education tax collection in the nearest future.

    He tasked the heads of the beneficiary institutions to ensure smooth, timely, judicious, and effective implementation and utilization of the year 2023 intervention allocation, to make the needed impact in the respective tertiary institutions.

    Echono said he had the cause to lament in 2022 that TETFund received N257 billion in 2020 as collections and that last year this dropped to N189 billion representing 130 per cent drop, saying however, that this has been improved to 328 billion this year.

    “On the basis of this, each university shall get, for the Year 2023 intervention cycle, the total sum of N1,154,732,133.00. This comprises N954,732,123.00 as annual direct disbursement and N200million as zonal intervention.

    “Similarly, each Polytechnic shall get N699,344,867.00 comprising N569,344,807.00 as annual direct disbursement and N130million as zonal intervention, while each College of education shall get N800,862,602 comprising of N670,862,602.00 as annual direct disbursement and N130million as zonal intervention,” he said.

    Echono further noted that the amount approved by the President this year represents the highest disbursement to each beneficiary institution, since inception of the Fund.

    He added the fortunes of tertiary education in Nigeria improved significantly under President Buhari administration, saying between 2015 to date, about 8 years, the total sum of N1, 702 trillion has been disbursed as Education Tax collection to public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education compared to a total sum of N1.249trillion disbursed from the inception of the Fund in 1993 up to 2014 (21 years).

    According to him, this remarkable success was due to gracious approval of President Buhari for an increase in education tax from 2.0 per cent to 2.5 per cent in the year 2021 and sustained efforts at expanding and increasing efficiency of collection of the Education Tax.

    The TETFund boss also appealed to President Buhari to assent to the Finance Act 2023, which “provides for a further increase in education tax from 2.5% to 3%” as a parting gift to the education sector and a fitting finale to his manifest desire to improve education funding in the country.

    He commended the key actors at making the giant stride possible, notably Malam Adamu Adamu, Minister of Education, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed Shamsuna, Minister of Finance, the Chairmen and members of the Senate and House Committees on Finance and Mohammed Nami, Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS).

    He lamented issues of abandoned or non-completion of projects in institutions in the past, saying these had constituted a serious challenge to the Board of Trustees in ensuring allocative efficiency and value for disbursed funds.

    In order to address these challenges, Echono said Fund has since reviewed its disbursement process on the internal audit clearance requirement and also engaged on a one-on-one meeting with affected institutions with the aim of resolving this persistent problem.

    Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry Education, Mr David Andrew Adejo, called on the beneficiary instititutions to ensure judicious application of the funds allocated to them for infrastructural development in their various institutions.

    He told the heads of the instititutions to make integrity and credibility their hallmark in the management of the resources entrusted to them, stressing that the increase in per cent allocation, TETFund and other stakeholders were asking for, could only be justified if what is given to the instititutions are properly utilised.

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