From Maurrice Okafor, Enugu
President Muhammadu Buhari at the weekend, tasked Nigerian universities to devise strategies of generating funds to sustain their institutions, stating the federal government don’t have much money to offset the financial burdens of the schools and universities in the country.
He said the burden is compounded by the increasing number of higher institutions in the country.
President Buhari dropped this hints during the 49th convocation ceremony of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN), at the Nsukka campus of the university at the weekend. He charged Nigerian universities to go all out to seek more financial help from other sources rather than relying on government alone.
The president who was represented at the occasion by the Minister of State for Education, Mr. Emeka Nwajiuba, said government was committed to addressing the needs of tertiary institutions but noted that budgetary allocation to tertiary institutions was becoming touching and higher for the government to bear.
“My administration is committed to addressing the needs of our tertiary institutions. As you all know, the budgetary allocation to the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, is at all-time high. However, the competition for the funds has become keener because of the recent increase in the number of tertiary institutions in the country. Thus our expectations must be realistic.
“We also need to be mindful of the fact that the amount of funding needed to revitalize the educational system in the country is far beyond what the government can afford. The situation has been worsened by the global economic downturn which has also affected the national revenue,” he laments.
To improve the funding of schools, however, Buhari said that when the economy is diversified, government would be in good financial standing to meet with educational needs of the country.
“I remain optimistic, however that the ongoing drive to diversify the national economy, which my government is pursuing with vigour, will provide government with additional resources to improve funding for the educational system,” he declared.
While government is making efforts to better the lots of the Tertiary education, Buhari charged universities to shop for more funds to argument their financial needs.
“In addition, universities must leverage on other sources, such as alumni, friends, the private sector, institutional linkages and research grants from different organisations to attract additional revenue for infrastructure, research and development,” he charges.