Adopts 3% VAT to fund North-east Development Commission
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The Senate finally put to rest the dispute between the federal government and tertiary institutions over the conduct of Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) as the new Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (Amendment) Act 2016 passed yesterday makes the conduct of post-UTME illegal.
Instead, Section 5(b) of the new bill places the sole responsibility of conducting admission examinations into tertiary institutions on JAMB.
“The matriculation examinations conducted by the board shall be the sole examinations required for admission and entry into all universities, polytechnics (by whatever name called) and colleges of education (by whatever name called) to the exclusion of any institution or body,” the bill states.
The bill also provides that the placement of suitably qualified candidates in tertiary institutions in accordance with existing vacancies, guidelines approved by authorities of such institutions and preferences expressed by candidates shall be the exclusive preserve of JAMB.
It further adds that the collection and dissemination of information on all matters in relation to admissions into tertiary institutions and related matters are the duties of JAMB.
The new bill also introduced a new Section 6 (1) into the original Act. The section guarantees the validity of any admission offered by JAMB to any candidate for a period of three years from the date of the examination.
Furthermore, Section 6 (2) and Section 6(3) of the bill also support the extension of admission validity period for three years.
“A candidate meeting the requirement for admission and being duly qualified shall remain so qualified for the period prescribed in sub-section (1) of this section. A candidate awaiting admission shall be given preference in the succeeding year over fresh applicants who shall only become eligible when backlog has been cleared,” the sections provide.
The passage of the bill followed the adoption of the report of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND presented by its chairman, Senator Jibrin Barau.
Also yesterday, the Senate adopted three per cent of the entire value added tax (VAT) of the federation for the funding of North-east Commission saddled with the responsibility of rebuilding the devastated North-east region in the North-east Development Commission Bill.
The adoption was the fallout of the presentation of the report of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on North-east Development Commission Bill.
The committee was constituted on June 14, 2016 with the mandate to resolve the disagreement which arose over the funding and location of the commission in the chamber while considering the third reading of the bill in June.
During the consideration of the bill, two major disputes arose on where to cite the North-east Development Commission as well as the source of its funding.
While the committee which legislated on the bill had recommended five per cent of VAT for the funding, the Senate could not reach a consensus on it as senators from the North-east vehemently disagreed on the location of the commission as each of them wanted the commission sited in their states, thus prompting the constitution of the ad-hoc committee to resolve the dispute.
However, upon the presentation of the report of the ad-hoc committee yesterday, its chairman, Senator Sam Egwu, said the committee resolved to reduce the earlier proposal of 5 per cent VAT for the funding of the commission to 3 per cent. Egwu also reported that in view of the prevailing security situation in the North-east, Maiduguri remained the most strategic location for the commission.
The recommendations were unanimously adopted and thus ending the controversies over the funding and location of the commission. This resolution therefore clears the coast for passage of the bill.