ASUU hails approval of N320bn intervention fund but…


The president, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof Emmanuel Osodeke has commended the federal government for approving N320, 345,040, 835 as intervention to public tertiary institutions across the country.

However, Osodeke called for a redistribution of the fund to ensure that it accounts for 90 per cent of what has been approved to go to universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education while the balance cannot be accounted for.

The ASSU president spoke in an interview aired on Channels Television yesterday.

“It (N320bn fund) is a good development, this is part of what we struggled for in 1994, it is our struggle, but there are issues we need to sort out.

“When you check the allocation of about N1.2 billion to universities and others, you find out that the total for all the universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education come to just about N186 billion allocated out of about N320, leaving a balance of N132 billion that has not been accounted for. What are we using that N132 billion which is 41 per cent of the total amount of money? Is it for bureaucracy or for what?

He said such skewed distribution of funds has been the hallmark Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

“This is what has been happening in TETFund and I think there is a need to examine what exactly is happening at TETFund. The idea of this TETFund when it was negotiated by ASUU was that this money will come and be distributed to the universities, not keeping 41 per cent for whatever purpose.

“I think we need a redistribution of this fund to ensure that it accounts for 90 per cent of what has been approved to go to universities, polytechnic and not kept as bureaucracy or whatever. You need to tell the public what TETFund is doing with the balance of N132 billion,” he added.

Recall that the executive secretary of TETFund, Mr. Sonny Echono, announced the approval of the intervention money in Abuja on Wednesday during the Fund’s annual strategic planning workshop with all heads of beneficiary institutions.

Echono said the meeting was an avenue to receive feedback and evaluate the performance of its intervention lines to enhance a more robust delivery of the agency’s mandate.

He said each university will receive N1,154,732,133.00; polytechnic, N699,344,867.00 comprising N569,344,807.00 as annual direct disbursements and N130 million as zonal intervention, while each College of Education will receive N800,862,602 comprising N670,862,602.00 as annual direct disbursement and N130 million as zonal intervention.

“It is pertinent to note that this represents the highest disbursement to each beneficiary institution, since inception of the Fund.

“I should also place on record that the fortunes of the Nigerian tertiary education sector improved significantly under the Buhari administration.

“Between 2015 to date, the total sum of N1.702 trillion has been disbursed as tertiary education tax (EDT) collection to public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education compared to a total sum of N1.249 trillion disbursed from the inception of the Fund in 1993 up to 2014 (21 years),” he said.


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