By Gbenga Akingbule
Chairman, Board of Trustees of Tertiary Education Trust Fund ( TETFund), Mutawalli Kashim Imam, has on Monday advised Tertiary institutions in Nigeria to look inward and desist from using its support funds to sponsor few and favoured lecturers to study abroad.
Imam, however made exemptions for only critical courses that may be difficult to access in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.
The TETFund boss gave the advice in Maiduguri, the Borno State Capital during a joint interactive session between TETFund and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) .
According to Imam, funds giving to tertiary institutions across the country has over the years been expended on foreign sponsorship of very few lecturers on courses and programmes that are readily available in Nigeria institutions.
Imam wondered why huge amounts recived from TETFund will be given to only “few favoured lectures ” to study abroad for courses that are easily accessible in the country.
He insisted that such funds ought to have been channeld by tertiary institutions to train many lecturers on available courses in Nigeria .
He added that it wil no longer be business as usual and the organisation has taken measures to halt the practice.
Imam who stated that due to the Covid19 pandemic, “TETFUND was only able to realise N200 billion out of the N500 billion it targetted for 2021.
Even though he added that the tax collected is expected to increase to N300 Billion, he maintained that funds for training of lecturers must be expended judiciously
” In certain exceptional cases , Universities should consider foreign sponsorship on courses that are not readily available here . As a general rule , we advise you to look inward – the money we’re giving you is enough to sponsor more to achieve MSc, PHD; we dont want you to use N150 Million to sponsor only three favoured and well- connected lectures.
” Let me advise you, going forward, today the dollar is close to N600 , it is now a luxury that is beyond TETFund and your institutions and if it must be done abroad , it must be for exceptional cases that the facilities are not available here , the course cannot be found locally , but certainly, not Education, not Public Administration and not Political Science ” Iman said
On the interactive session with the FIRS , Imam revealed the meeting will assist the two organisations to review their achievements and areas that need improvement.
“The Interactive Session allows us to give an account of ourselves on what we’ve done and what we are currently doing.
” This forum also allows us to put our heads together in an annual get together where we look at how we can improve tax collection for FIRS and revenue for the TETFUND. ” Iman said.