Bayelsa’s Education Trust Fund Hits N800m

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• State’s stride in capacity building excites German Envoy

Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr Bernhard Schlagheck, yesterday took his tour of states in the Niger Delta to Bayelsa and underscored the importance of government’s investment in education as a prerequisite for national development.

Schlagheck’s visit also coincided with a disclosure by the Seriake Dickson-led administration that the Education Trust Fund, a contributory scheme recently floated by the state government, had hit over N800 million.

Dickson urged the private sector, particularly corporate organisations and individuals to make contributions to the fund to enable indigent children acquire free and qualitative education.

He spoke when the Chairman, Prof. Turner Isoun and members of the board of the ETF presented the 2017 report of the board to him at the Government House, Yenagoa.

He said the fund was aimed at strengthening education in the state, while children are drawn from indigent backgrounds which will help increase the literacy level in the state.

“I also want to use this opportunity to call on the private sector, especially, the international oil companies that have been making billions of dollars on this soil without giving much back. I want to call for collaboration.
“I have mandated the chairman and the board to establish contacts with all local and international companies that are operating in this state to assess and impose a special levy.

“The law provides for the board to assess and levy individuals and leaders of this state irrespective of where they may reside. We expect the board to do more especially in the area of increasing their dragnet,” the governor said.
Presenting the annual report, Prof. Turner Isoun, said the board had a receipt of about N800 million, out of which, N300 million was spent leaving a balance of N500 million.

Isoun said, the fund would go a long way in addressing the challenges in the education sector and assist the people participate effectively in a knowledge-driven economy.

Meanwhile, Schlagheck, while commending the educational strides of the Bayelsa government said the visit was to enable him have first-hand knowledge of the economic potential, as well as problems confronting the region, with a view to identifying possible areas of collaboration.

He said: “I’m quite impressed with what I’m seeing here in Bayelsa, particularly when it comes to human capacity development, education and health. Because human development is really very crucial and a pivotal area for the development of Nigeria as a whole, particularly here in the South-south.

“I think your government has done a great job not only in education but also in infrastructures. In your six years as governor, you’ve performed well. And so, part of the reason for my visit is to congratulate and encourage you in continuing the good works you’ve been doing so far.”