President Buhari's directive
on borrowed monies lauded
. . . as TETFund receives 2019 dues, Feb.2020
by Danladi Bala,
The PYRAMID reporter
A passionate appeal has been made for scrupulous compliance by the relevant government agencies to President Buhari's directive on the need to refund all Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) monies borrowed over the years. Such unremitted monies have been affecting efficient delivery of services by the tertiary education intervention agency.
TETFund Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro made the plea while applauding the Buhari Government's instruction to relevant agencies of Government who "borrowed" money meant for the Fund's intervention projects and programs over the years.
Addressing Chairman and members of the Federal House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education and Services Committee during the course of an oversight visit to the Zambezi Crescent, Maitama District Office of the TETFund in Abuja shortly before the COVID19 pandemic crises.
After a meeting and facility tour for the Committee members by the Fund Executive Secretary Prof. Bogoro, the agency's Director of Finance and Investment (DFI), Alhaji Idris Sa'idu reeled out details of figures covering monies accrued to the TETFund.
The figures showed up the massive progress made since return of Prof. Bogoro to the Fund as helmsman, early last year (2019), after a break as executive secretary for over two years. While rendering his report, DFI Idris pointed to challenges faced by the TETFund in delivering on its mandate. He also identified the way forward to address the challenges and chart a course for rapid and efficient delivery.
He lauded the directive by the President, General Muhammadu Buhari, for a refund of borrowed monies to "the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund)". This formed part of the copies of the submission made for Executive Secretary Bogoro by the Director.
He reported how funds were not provided for TETFund projects in 2019, by Office of Accountant General of the Federation, until February 19, 2020. These challenges could be resolved by studying and applying solutions put forward under the DFI submitted document which he signed for Executive Secretary and passed on to the visiting House Committee members.
The seven pointers as the "way forward" to get the fund going with efficient dexterity, are: adherence to President Buhari's order for return of borrowed funds; limiting intervention in state owned tertiary institutions to a maximum of two such institutions; request for regular quarterly release of the TETFund administered 2% Education Tax (EDT); putting a stop to "the temptation of borrowing from 2% education tax without debt instrument issued to cover the debt"
Others are collaboration with Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) to widen the tax net for more coverage of "many non-oil companies not currently captured" to diversify the revenue sources of the Fund; "continuous sensitization, training and capacity building" for managers of beneficiary tertiary institutions on how to access TETFund intervention projects and programs; and "the need to increase Education Tax rate from the current 2% of assessable profit to at least 4% assessable profit to improve revenue accruing to the Fund".
The quoted report by TETFund DFI Alhaji Idris signed for Executive Secretary Prof. Bogoro titled, "Re: Notification of oversight visit to your Organisation" was raised in response to a letter of similar tag from the House of Representatives Committee Chairman, Tertiary Education and Services. In the report a copious analysis of cash receipts and expenditure for January, 2018 to February 2020 was presented with sections for "gross collections for 2018, gross collections for 2019", net collections and totals of amounts drawn as cost of administration. Other financial details included "balances available for projects, disburseme ts, expenditures and project disbursements for 2018, 2019 and projected figures for 2020 respectively.
Also presented were details and appendices covering "2019 to 2020 TETFund intervention projects, programmes and scholarships. These are: projects, academic staff training and development, information and communication technology, strategic planning and development, education support services and finally research development and centers of excellence. Further detailed are "international travel, training and workshops; list of recruitments and replacements carried out from January 2018 to the February 2020 instant.
The house committee, leaving after the one day visitation extolled the vibrancy of the Agency under the leadership Prof. Bogoro and promised to study the submissions with a view to working with the Fund to ensure achievement of its mandate.