By Felix Khanoba
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has expressed its readiness to release the 2018 allocation for its various intervention projects in public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country in no distant time.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa, who stated this while fielding questions from newsmen in Abuja recently, said the allocation for 2018 is expected to be higher than that of last year.
Baffa said the highest allocation to tertiary education institutions so far recorded by TETFund since its establishment was in 2016, which is under the present administration.
His words : “It would interest the general public that the maiden or the first intervention allocation that was approved by this present administration under President Muhammadu Buhari in Year 2016 allocation was the biggest allocation ever since the establishment of TETFund.
“Interestingly, this happened despite the significant drop in the government revenue due to the sharp decline in oil prices in that year. Even more interesting, is the fact that it was period in which the economy was witnessing episode of recession, yet the Buhari administration was able to allocate more money to the universities and other tertiary institutions.”
The TETFund boss, however, said the economic situation in the country in 2017 took a toll on the tax collected that year, thereby affecting the amount of money that went into the agency’s coffers during the period.
“The 2017 allocation has also been released but of course, given the severe financial constraints facing the country and the reduced tax collection in 2016 due to the recession, the money that we collected for Year 2016 which we used for Year 2017 allocation had declined somewhat.
“So the allocation to Universities hovered around N700 million (Seven Hundred Million Naira only) each, and for Colleges of Education and Polytechnics, around N600 million (Six Hundred Million Naira only) each.
“The allocation for Year 2018 from the Year 2017 tax collection promises to be higher than that of last year. We have finished our preparations and we are going to release the allocations very soon.
“I should tell Nigerians that our only source of funds that we allocate and disburse to the beneficiary institutions is the Education Tax collections, that is the two per cent Education Tax that all the companies registered in Nigeria pay from their accessible profit.
“The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) collects and pay into the Education Pool with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), before the Federal Ministry of Finance transfers the money to the TETFund Project Account,” Baffa said.