Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has begun the disbursement of the direct intervention funds approved by President Muhammadu Buhari to public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country.
Presenting the allocation papers to heads of beneficiary institutions in Abuja yesterday, the executive secretary of the Fund, Sunny Echono, said N642,848,138 was allocated to each university, N396,780,086.00 to each polytechnic and N447,758,804.00 to each college of education in the country for the year 2022.
Echono said the desire to develop human capital to service the various sectors of the Nigerian economy, primarily informed government’s investment in the education sector.
He said government is not unmindful of the deficit and decay in the tertiary sub-sector, noting that it also informed the establishment of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund; which was initially referred to as Education Tax Fund in 1993 and later metamorphosed to Tertiary Education Trust Fund in 2011.
The TETFund boss also lamented the instances of distressed or non-performing projects which, according to him, were becoming rampant and disturbing.
He further noted that the Fund had about seven non-performing/distressed projects in University of Port Harcourt. Six in Enugu State University, a total of 5 in University of Nigeria Nsukka, four in Taraba State University, in University of Calabar, four in Kaduna State University and I at Alvan Ikoku College of Education.
“This phenomenon becomes even more worrisome, when viewed alongside the problem of un-accessed funds. We are mindful of the intricate variables in project management and delivery as well as the constraints created by our own internal policies and are ensuring that we review our processes where required but will also demand from beneficiary institutions accountability and sanctions where needed.
“I will in the coming weeks be engaging beneficiary institutions who have these serious problems with the view of bringing the projects to speedy completion and use,” he said.
Echono who recently succeeded Prof. Elais Bogoro, as executive secretary of TETFund, pledged to boost the ICT capacity of the Fund in order to ensure seamless operations.
“Upon assumption of office I received briefings and presentations from all the departments of the Fund on the status of their various activities. This was to enable me to assess the level of progress and to see if there are issues that needed to be addressed urgently.
“One of our primary areas of focus is digital literacy and the development and deployment of information and communication technology (ICT), including ubiquitous broadband and data connectivity/access to our institutions to enhance our ICT capabilities,” he said.