By Felix Khanoba
The five states that make up the South-East geo-political zone are among the only 10 states in the country that are yet to access the 2019 education intervention fund from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC).
Executive Secretary of UBEC, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, made this known during an oversight visit to the Commission by the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education in Abuja.
He listed the states that have not accessed their over a billion naira 2019 matching grant as Abia, Anambra, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo (South-east), Kebbi, Niger, Edo, Ogun and Lagos.
While saying Abia, Lagos and Kebbi had in a few days ago lodged the required payments to access the 2019 grant, Bobboyi said Enugu State still has a large sum of its 2018 funds un-accessed.
The UBEC boss said N41.06 billion matching grant in the Commission’s coffers has remained un-accessed by the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as at 8 March, 2021, adding that no state has accessed the 2020 fund.
He said about N143 billion matching grant was accessed by states and FCT from 2017 to 2020, out of the N184.8 billion that was made available by the Commission.
Bobboyi, who lamented the several challenges bedeviling the basic education sector, said UBEC was appropriated 29.7 billion in the 2020 budget for capital projects with N1.3 billion for Federal Teacher Scheme; Constituency Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP) – N2.8 billion and Constituency projects (Capital) – N25. 6 billion.
He, however, said that only N29. 75 billion (99.2 percent) was released to the Commission as at December 2020.
Bobboyi said with the capital releases, the Commission awarded contracts to the tune of N27.5 billion for 2,895 constituency projects across the country, adding that 939 of such projects have been completed while 1,956 are ongoing.
He said the projects cut across classroom construction, classroom renovation and supplies of education items.
The UBEC boss said, “30 states and FCT have implemented 2018 (matching grant projects) , six states namely; Anambra, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Ogun and Plateau are yet to implement, eight states have implemented 2019 matching grants projects, 28 states and FCT are yet to implement. In 2020, no state implemented the matching grants projects.”
Earlier, the acting Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, said the team was at UBEC to assess its activities in line with the mandate of the Senate.
“UBEC is a major agency under this Committee because the foundation of education begins with UBEC. If we miss it at that level it will be difficult to get it right,” the Akwa-Ibom’s born Senator said.