President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N320 billion as the 2023 Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) disbursement to tertiary institutions.
The Executive Secretary, TETFund, Mr Sonny Echono, said this at the Annual Strategic Planning Workshop organised for Heads of Beneficiary Institutions in Abuja on Wednesday.
Echono said that the fortunes of the Nigerian tertiary education had improved significantly under the Buhari-led administration who approved the increase.
He said TETFund received N257 billion in 2020 as collections but dropped to 189 billion in 2022, representing 30 per cent drop.
He noted that efforts of key actors in the sector had brought it up to N320 billion in 2023.
“Between 2015 to date, N1.702 trillion has been disbursed as education tax collection to public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education compared to N1.249 trillion disbursed from the inception of the Fund in 1993 to 2014.
“I am pleased to inform you that Mr President has approved the 2023 disbursement guidelines in the total sum of N320,345,040, 835.
“On the basis of this, each university shall get, for the year 2023 intervention cycle, the total sum of N1,154,732,133.00. This comprises N954,732,123.00 as annual direct disbursement and N200 million as zonal intervention.
“Similarly, each Polytechnic shall get N699,344,867.00 comprising of N569,344,807.00 as annual direct disbursement and N130million as zonal intervention.
” Each College of Education shall get N800,862,602 comprising of N670,862,602.00 as annual direct disbursement and N130 million as zonal intervention,” he said.
The executive secretary further said that the figure represented the highest disbursement to each beneficiary institution since inception of the Fund.
He expressed satisfaction over the remarkable success, attributing it to sustained efforts at increasing efficiency of collection of the education tax.
He commended the president for approving an increase in education tax from two per cent to 2.5 per cent in 2021, and appealed that it should be increased to three per cent.
Echono said that this was achievable through efforts of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu and the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.
“Distinguished heads of institutions, the year 2023 just like the previous year remains a promising year that has seen tremendous improvement in the collection of education taxes.
“As we distribute the year 2023 allocation letters today, I am pleased to inform you that we have kept our promise to constantly improve our operations and reduce processing.
“As I have stated in several fora, my commitment to and prioritisation of the knowledge component of our interventions has not waned.
“This you will see in our deliberate provisions for entrepreneurship and innovation hubs, research laboratories, modern demonstration farms and capacity building,” he added.
On all designated intervention lines, Echono said the fund was reviewing and evaluating all its centres of excellence with a view to repositioning them to function effectively as envisioned at their establishment.
Responding, Prof. Idris Bugaje, the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education said that the intervention represented 0.2 per cent or less of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
Bugaje advocated for increase in the interventions, while also calling for a drive for equal sharing formula among all tertiary institutions.
Also, the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, expressed satisfaction in the improvement in tertiary institutions’ interventions as the highest so far in the history of the fund.
He, therefore, commended the fund for its resilient to tertiary education in spite of challenges experienced over the years.
However, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr David Adejo, urged heads of tertiary institutions to show much integrity and credibility for the advancement of tertiary education in the country.