The Federal Government through Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has injected more than N2.5 trillion in the development of infrastructure and staff development in public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria in the last 10 years of its establishment.
Chairman, Board of Trustees of TETFund, Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, made this known on Thursday when he disclosed that the agency is targeting more than N500 billion education tax collection by 2023.
He spoke at the 3rd edition of Tax Payers Forum with the theme: TETFUND Intervention: Catalyst for Transforming Tertiary Education in Nigeria” held in Lagos, where he also promised to ensure that intervention to the beneficiary institutions be increased by 50 per cent next year and 100 per cent in two years.
The event which had the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by his deputy, Olufemi Hamzat, as a guest of honour was attended by captains of industries, academia and other stakeholders.
Lagos State, Governor in his speech delivered by his deputy, Hamzat, however, insisted that funding for the education sector must be prioritised, noting that TETFund was then established as a child of necessity to intervene in the ailing universities system and that universities in Nigeria would have been worse than the current situation without TETFund.
He, therefore, appealed to the companies private operating in Nigeria to be consistent in their remittances, while also charging TETFund to endeavour to create Silicon Valley for Nigeria and focus on how to take research to the market.
Ibrahim-Imam disclosed that for this year alone disclosed TETFund budgeted the sum of N300 billion to over 226 higher institutions across the country in 2021.
He noted that the agency had budgeted N120 billion for education in 2020, adding that this was increased to N300 billion in 2021 while tasking the Federal Inland Revenue Service on increasing the education tax collection to N500 billion in the next two years.
According to him, more than N30 billon was set aside for academic staff training in the various institutions across the country.
Ibrahim-Imam, said in response to the challenges of acute shortage of hostels in Universities in the country, the Board of Trustees of TETfund has approved the construction of 160,000 additional bed spaces in the institutions across the country.
Lagos State, Governor in his speech read by his deputy, Olufemi Hamzat, insisted that funding for the education sector must be prioritised, noting that TETFund was then established as a child of necessity to intervene in the ailing universities system and that universities in Nigeria would have been worse than the current situation without TETFund.
He, therefore, appealed to the companies private operating in Nigeria to be consistent in their remittances, while also charging TETFund to endeavour to create Silicon Valley for Nigeria and focus on how to take research the market.
Minister of Education of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, who was represented by the Pro-chancellor of the University of Benin, Dr Sonny Kuku, commended the stakeholders for their contribution while assuring them of the determination of the Federal Government to transform the entire landscape of public tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, in his welcome address, said the Tax Payers Forum served as the platform to honour and identify individuals and companies that have made tremendous contributions to education through the consistent payment of education tax and have invariably contributed to the development of education and by extension that of the entire nation.
He explained that the 2 per cent education tax is remitted annually by companies through the FIRS to TETFund for allocation and onward disbursement to beneficiary institutions across the country.
Bogoro noted that the education tax over the years has been channelled into different activities and areas in line with the mandate of the Fund as enshrined in the establishment Act.
He said: “Infrastructure has been given special attention in this regard, because of its decay and collapse across public tertiary institutions in Nigeria at the onset.
“A careful observation will reveal that the Fund has between January to December 2020 alone carried out 16,982 various infrastructure projects across beneficiary institutions.
“Considering the projects carried out since inception, based on annual allocation to institutions over the years 2011 to 2021, it is estimated that a total of over 152,838 various infrastructure projects have been carried out across various public tertiary institutions.
“These projects include construction of lecture theatres, classrooms, hostels, offices, laboratories, road networks and fencing of institutions in different parts of the country. Tertiary institutions across the country are dotted with TETFund projects which bear the insignia of the Fund distinctly inscribed on each project.
“Additionally, we have sponsored over 10,632 lecturers in the local PhD program, over 9,072 lecturers in the local master’s degree programme across the country between 2011 and the year 2020.
“The Fund has also sponsored well over 4,485 lecturers to overseas institutions for Ph.D. programs and over 3,192 Master’s degree candidates also overseas, across tertiary institutions within the same period.
“The Fund has further supported 71,263 Lecturers in Federal and State Colleges of Education under its teacher supervision program, bringing to a total 98,644 the number of academic staff across public tertiary institutions that have benefited from the academic staff training and development programme of the Fund,” he said.
Source: Independent NG