Dangote Laments Poor Funding of Public Universities

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Aliko Dangote,
Aliko Dangote

•Says govts can’t fund tertiary education alone

John Shiklam in Kaduna

President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote yesterday lamented that the public universities in the country continued to grapple with the challenge of underfunding.

Dangote, Africa’s richest man, however, observed that the federal government “alone cannot shoulder the entire burden of funding tertiary education due to competing needs of other sectors that also demand priority attention.”

He canvassed the position at the 41st convocation of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, where he was conferred with Honorary Doctor of Letters yesterday.

Speaking at the convocation yesterday, Dangote advocated for public private partnership (PPP) to tackle the challenges of funding tertiary education in Nigeria.

He said the private sector should go beyond the payment of two per cent education levy and be ready to join hands with the state and federal governments in funding for tertiary education in Nigeria.

Speaking at the convocation, Dangote said the federal government alone cannot shoulder the burden of funding tertiary education due to competing needs in other sectors.

He noted that one of the major challenges of public tertiary institutions is lack of sufficient funding, saying there was need for collaboration with the private sector to bridge the gap of underfunding.

He explained that the student population at the country’s universities “have recorded significant increase without a corresponding growth in terms of infrastructure.

“This is a subsisting and growing major challenge as Nigerian public universities continue to grapple with underfunding.

“We do acknowledge that, the Federal Government alone cannot shoulder the entire burden of funding tertiary education due to competing needs of other sectors that also demand priority attention.

“This is where Public Private Partnership (PPP) can and should come in to fill the gap. I strongly believe the private sector must go beyond just the payment of 2 per cent education levy and be ready to join hands with the state and federal governments in expanded funding for tertiary education in Nigeria.”

Dangote suggested that the partnership and intervention of the private sector will ensure that tertiary institutions are positioned to produce graduates who can transform the country.

He said it was against this background that, the Dangote Foundation, built 10 blocks of fully equipped accommodation complex in ABU, with the capacity of hosting 2,160 students, at the cost of N1.2 billion, saying the gesture was informed by his passion for education and entrepreneurship.

The hostel was commissioned during the convocation.