The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has recorded over N60 billion drop in revenue available for its operations.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono stated this on Thursday in Abuja when members of the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, led by Aminu Suleiman, paid an oversight visit to the agency.
Echono, while speaking on the operations of the Fund and the state of finances, especially from 2017 to date said last year’s collection, which was what the Fund used to operate this year, dropped to N189 billion.
“We witness a steady rise in collections under the education tax but unfortunately, last year, for the 2021 there was a sharp drop and that left us in a very dare position.
“For example, as I said, from N154 billion in 2017, the tax collection rose steadily to N257 billion over the years.
“So by 2020, we’ve got N257 billion, but unfortunately, last year’s collection, which is what we use to operate this year, dropped sharply to N189 billion.
“So over N60 billion drop revenue or resources available to TETfund and the way we operate, 2021 collections are used for 2022 operations,” the TETfund boss said.
However, he noted that given Mr President’s commitment on increased funding for education, and with the usual support of the National Assembly, the tax rate last year was increased from 2 to 2.5%.
Echono further commended the level of support and cooperation the Fund enjoyed from the committee and the National Assembly while seeking its support in effecting the amendment of the Fund.
“This is a major area that will be seeking the support of the National Assembly in terms of legislation.
“The other aspect is the fact that in contravention of this oversight, we also want to open our activities more to independent assessment and evaluation on our behalf.
“So we have designed a monitoring and evaluation that will involve key stakeholders, like the National Assembly, even the staff unions in our tertiary institutions, to join us to independently look at some of the things that we’re doing,” he added.
Responding, Suleiman assured the Fund of its continued support and cooperation to ensure that the system continues to work stronger.
“We congratulate you and we assure you of our support, without prejudice to the fact that sometimes we can agree to disagree.
“And I’m sure you are familiar we have had quite several even when you are the Permanent Secretary to disagree entirely with the ministry, but not predicated on any personal motive but to share with you where I’m at with them differently from the way things are being done, and in most cases, we actually arrive at the surface.
“I have no doubt that our relationship will continue here. The essence is for us like I said to better the system.”
He said the visit was a legislative requirement on any legislatures through various committees that a minimum of an oversight must be conducted and the periodic report submitted to the house through the culinary bureaus to discuss matters, particularly challenges that agencies and monitors of those agencies are facing.
Writing by Daniel Adejo