The Federal Government has injected over N2.5trillion in the development of infrastructure and staff development in public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in Nigeria in the last 10 years of establishment of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees of Trustees of TETFund, Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, made this known, yesterday at the 3rd edition of Tax Payers Forum with the theme: “TETFUND Intervention: Catalyst for transforming tertiary education in Nigeria.”
The details of the event which held in Lagos, was sent to Journalists in Abuja.
While promising to ensure that intervention to the beneficiary institutions be increased by 50 per cent next year and 100 per cent in two years, Ibrahim-Imam also said that the agency was targeting more than N500billion education tax collection by 2023.
The event in which the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was represented by his Deputy, Olufemi Hamzat, as guest of honour was attended by captains of industries, academia and other stakeholders.
The governor insisted that funding for the education sector must be prioritised, adding 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 private companies 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 said that for 2021 alone, TETFund budgeted the sum of N300billion to over 226 higher institutions across the country in 2021.
According to him, the agency had budgeted N120billion to education in 2020 but was increased to N300billion in 2021.
He tasked the Federal Inland Revenue Service on increasing the education tax collection to N500billion in the next two years.
Ibrahim-Imam said more than N30billion was set aside for academic staff training in the various institutions across the country.
He said in response to the challenges of acute shortage of hostels in Universities in the country, that the BoT of TETfund has approved the construction of 160,000 additional bed spaces in the institutions across the country.
The Minister of Education of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, represented by the Pro-chancellor of 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.
The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, in his welcome address, said the Tax Payers Forum served as the platform to honour and identity 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 two 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 said 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 Ph.D. program, over 9,072 lecturers in the local master’s degree programme across the country between 2011 and 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 programme, 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.”
Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.
FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer
The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.
Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media
The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.
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