The Federal Government has approved a total sum of 683.4 billion naira as the 2024 disbursement for beneficiary tertiary institutions across the country.
The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Sonny Echono, gave the breakdown of the disbursement at a Strategic Meeting with Heads of Beneficiary institutions on Friday in Abuja.
He said that the disbursement was the highest since inception.
Echono attributed the increase to the sustained efforts at expanding and increasing the efficiency of education tax collection from 2.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent in the year 2023.
Echono said that the Fund had budgeted 90.57 per cent for Direct Annual Disbursement and 8.4 per cent as designated special interventions, from the total disbursement.
“A stabilisation of 2.27 per cent is allowed to enable the Fund respond to emerging issues.
“This is inclusive of the difference between actual collections and the projections made for November and December 2023 collections as requested and approved by Mr President.
“Based on this approval, each University shall get, for the Year 2024 intervention cycle, the total sum of N1,906,944,930.00.
“This comprises N1,656,944,930.00 as annual direct disbursement and N250million as zonal intervention.
“Similarly, each Polytechnic shall get N1,165,355,235, comprising of N1,015,355,235 as annual direct disbursement and N150million as zonal intervention.
“Also,each College of Education shall get N1,398,426,282.00, comprising of N1,248,426,282.00 as annual direct disbursement and N150million as zonal intervention,” he said.
Echono added that the approved new intervention lines in the annual direct disbursement included the establishment of Career Centers/Unit, in all categories of beneficiary institutions as well as the Institution Based Skills development for Polytechnics.
He also said that in response to popular demands from the Colleges of Education, the teaching practice allocation had been greatly enhanced.
“For the Special Direct Disbursements, we have increased the allocation for the Special High Impact Programme (SHIP).
“Also, the number of benefitting institutions have also been increased to two per geopolitical zone per category giving a total of 36 beneficiary institutions.
“Other areas of Special Direct Disbursement are provision for Hostels using the Public/Private Partnership arrangement, innovation hubs, Disaster Recovery, Security Infrastructure, Completion of abandoned projects and many others,” he added.
Echono, therefore, urged heads of beneficiary institutions on timely payment to contractors and vendors to aid proper completion of projects.
He further appealed to heads of beneficiary institutions to immediately commence implementation as early as possible.
Speaking on the challenges of brain drain in the sector, he canvassed for increased renumeration for lecturers as a way to keep them rather than them leaving the shores of the country.
He, therefore, commended the National Assembly and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) for increase in education tax collection while hoping they would help in achieving 1trillion education collection by the end of 2024.
Declaring the meeting open, the Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman, charged the various heads of institutions to redouble their efforts to achieve the renewed hope of President Bola Tinubu.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Zubairu Abdullahi, Tahir also called on the unions to serve as constructive critics of federal government’s achievements.
He, therefore, urged the unions to also serve as a watchdog in monitoring the implementation of the projects at the different institutions.
Responding, the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Bugaje commended the federal government for the prompt release of disbursement allocation to beneficiary institutions.
Bugaje, represented by the Director, Human Resources, NBTE, Mr Lawal Hafiz, pleaded for a review of the sharing formula in the disbursement to benefit the polytechnics sector more.
Also, the Acting Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission (NUC), Chris Maiyaki, tasked beneficiary institutions on effective and efficient utilisation of the allocation. (NAN)