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Extending TETFund Intervention To Critical Infrastructure

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

Analysts observe that
the crises of funding the education sector gave birth to the establishment of Education Tax Fund in 1993 which later metamorphosed to Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
“In the beginning, the fund was saddled with the responsibilities of revamping, rehabilitating and revatilising infrastructural facilities in tertiary institutions.
“The mandate later covered other areas of need in the universities, polytechnics and colleges of education sectors,’’ analysts observe.
They note that although the fund is mandated to concentrate its interventionist services on the enumerated areas, it should extend its interventions beyond infrastructural development to other service areas.
The fund derives its revenue from the two per cent Education Tax via the Federal Inland Revenue Services that remits the amount collected to the account of the fund.
In the distributing of the fund, 41 per cent of it goes to the universities, 30 per cent to the polytechnics while colleges of education take 29 per cent.
The distributions are essential in the provision of physical infrastructure and equipment, library development, academic staff training and development.
Irrespective of the scope of TETFund intervention, the Vice-Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Akure, Prof. Adebiyi Daramola, insisted that the fund should extend its intervention in tertiary institutions to critical infrastructure.
According to him, capital votes for the development of critical infrastructure such as roads, optic fibre for internet and hydro-power plant projects from government are inadequate and there is need for TETFund’s intervention in that regard.
He insisted that the fund should take its interventions beyond infrastructure that had direct bearing on teaching and learning.
“We are saying that those infrastructure are very important, we don’t even have enough of them; but at the same time some critical infrastructure are needed to boost the existing ones.
“We need power to run any decent university; we need investment in water provision for the environment to be decent enough, we need fibre optic for internet access and, of course, we need good roads,’’ he said.
The Vice-Chancellor, in an interview, stressed the need for the provision of such critical infrastructure to boost teaching and learning.
“Since every university is a community on its own, it would also be helpful if TETFund could help with the provision of students’ accommodation,’’ he said.
He, nonetheless, admitted that tertiary institutions in the country would not function well without interventions from TETFund.
However, the Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti, Prof. Isaac Asuzu, said contractors handling projects for the new universities were contributing to inadequate infrastructure in tertiary education sector.
He said in an interview that contractors handling various projects had been delaying by giving excuses in spite of the huge money released to them by TETFund.
Asuzu urged the Federal Government to increase TETFund’s budget and advised TETFund to ensure effective implementation of its projects.
But  the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, insisted that the fund had its mandate and could not function contrary to it.
He said “the fund is commissioned to financially empower higher institutions in Nigeria to fulfil their mandate through the provision of essential physical infrastructure for teaching and learning.
“Provision of instructional materials and equipment, research, book development and publication, academic staff training and development.
“Other needs essential for the improvement of quality and maintenance of standards in the educational institutions.’’
He further noted that since the TETFund Act was amended in 2011, it had invested hundreds of billions of naira in tertiary institutions across board — universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
“Through these funds, we have been able to rehabilitate and upgrade laboratories of 51 federal and state polytechnics.
“We have constructed micro-teaching laboratories in 58 federal and state colleges of education.
“We have trained and developed close to 10, 000 academic staff both locally and internationally and supported 29 institutions to develop and publish research journals both locally and internationally,’’ he said.
He observed that the Nigerian education system was often characterised by decrepit infrastructure, deteriorating equipment and facilities, under-equipped laboratories, inadequate textbooks and other teaching materials.
He insisted that the academic institutions had an important role to play, especially in light of the heightened expectations for federal and state tertiary institutions.
“It is clear, of course, that simply investing more money into the system is not itself an answer; how that money is spent matters greatly in creating a strong and vibrant education sector.
“In 2013, TETFund allocations to universities, polytechnics and colleges of education stood at N31.338 billion, N12.950 billion and N12.550 billion respectively.
“These are supposed to complement their Capital Allocations and Internally Generated Revenue.
“Somehow, TETFund intervention funds have remained the guaranteed source of capital allocations in public tertiary institutions in the past two decades,’’ he said.
He observed that availability of funds had never solved all the problems and challenges in tertiary institutions.
“Our recent experiences have shown that the challenges of quality of governance, political interference, corruption and moral degeneration and unethical practices have emerged as very serious issues that all of us, including the various unions in our institution must address,’’ he said.
All in all, he insisted that key stakeholders must be convinced that inclusive and qualitative education reinforced by responsible management in our educational institutions are in  dispensable.
Dore is of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

 

Nysom Dore

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Stakeholders Meet To Assess Nigeria’s Preparedness For AFCFTA

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Stakeholders are expected to converge in Lagos today to take a look at the Nigeria’s preparedness to maximize the gains of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 
The Tide learnt that stakeholders will be converging at the instance of a popular online newspaper, Primetime Reporters, to assess the progress made so far by the Federal Government through the National Action Committee on AfCFTA agreement.
The event which is the Third Annual Lecture and Awards of the online medium has as its theme: “Assessing Nigeria’s Preparedness to Maximize the Gains of AfCFTA.” 
The event will also witness conferment of awards on eight eminent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in various fields of human endeavours.
The Managing Director/Editor-In-Chief of Primetime Reporters, Mr. Saint Augustine Nwadinamuo, made this known in a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Monday.
According to him, the event will hold at the National Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos beginning from 10.00am.
Nwadinamuo said that the event would be chaired by a renowned legal practitioner, Barr. Osuala Emmanuel Nwagbara of the Maritime and Commercial Law Partners, Lagos, while the Director General, Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Dr. Muda Yusuf, would be the lead paper presenter.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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EFCC Nabs 419 Kingpin Over N250m Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has arrested a leader of a deadly 419 syndicate, Abayomi Kamaldeen Alaka (a.k.a Awise) over an alleged attempt to swindle an innocent Nigerian of N250 million. 
The Tide learnt that the syndicate operates from a shrine at Ashipa Town, near Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to a statement made available to The Tide in Lagos on Sunday, by the EFCC, Awise’s arrest followed a petition by his victim, Juliet Bright who lost N250m to the fraudster after she was tricked to provide money for sacrifices and invocations to heal her of an ailment.
The statement said Bright was introduced to Alaka by one Akinola Bukola Augustina (a.ka. Iya Osun) whom she met on Facebook in the course of her search for solutions to her health challenge. 
What drew her to Augustina was the latter’s post under the name, Osunbukola Olamitutu Spriritual Healing Centre.
 Once Bright contacted Augustina, the latter promised to heal her if she could pay N16 million. 
The victim paid the money through an Access Bank account belonging to one Mohammed Sani, who later turned out to be a Bureau De Change Operator.
After paying the money without receiving healing, Augustina transferred the victim to other members of the syndicate, notably Awise. 
Bright revealed that she met Awise at his shrine in Ashipa Town and was hypnotized and subsequently transferred various sum through bank accounts and in cash to the suspect and his syndicate members, until she lost N250 million to them.
Despite all the monies collected from her, her health conditions has never improved.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Expert Wants Farmers To Grow Plant Produce For Export

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An expert in Quarantine Agriculture, Dr Vincent Ozuru, has advised Nigerian farmers to give more attention to growing plants produce that could be exported.
He said that plant like the hibiscus, popularly known as Zobo is on high demand in some countries around the world, today.
Ozuru who gave the advice while speaking to aviation correspondents at Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, noted that some plants produce, particularly hibiscus, had yielded huge revenue to the Federal Government through export.
According to him, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone in 2017 and earned $35 million within nine months of that year.
The agricultural quarantine expert explained that the export of the plant had a setback as a result of storage pest discovered by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service in some consignments.
“The issue has now been taken care of and the export is resuming again, and all matters have been resolved with the stakeholders across the value chain.
“Mexico is the largest importer of Nigerian hibiscus, and our farmers should brace up to the challenge.
“The good news is that Nigeria has a vast growing belt in hibiscus, and the harvest is available all year round.
“We need to take advantage of this opportunity to earn foreign exchange for ourselves and for the country at large, even with the commitment of the present administration to diversify the economy”, he said.
Ozuru called on Nigerian farmers to show more commitment to the growing of export produce and also endeavor to get ready information on it in order to increase their income.

By: Corlins Walter

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