By Funmi Ogundare
The Chairman Board of Trustees, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund), Kashim Ibrahim Imam, has stressed the need to sustain education tax collection for the funds continuous interventions in the country’s tertiary institutions.
Imam who made this call, yesterday at the 2020 joint TETfund/Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) interactive forum, held in Lagos, expressed concern that the Covid-19 pandemic had adversely affected the world economy, including Nigeria saying that decisive and stronger measures needed to be taken to ameliorate the effects of the present day reality.
Imam who spoke on the theme, ‘New Thrust in Sustaining the EDT collection during Covid-19 pandemic for effective service delivery of the mandate of the fund’, said the fund have been bedeviled with the challenge of meeting the target of Education Tax (EDT) collection, over the years.
He added that with the present state of the economy and the realities of the time, it will likely face same challenge except with deliberate and concerted efforts.
According to him,” Giving the realities of our time, there is need for improved effort to cushion the effects of the likely downturn of EDT collections.
The synergy between the fund and FIRS, he noted, is vital to the transformation evident in public tertiary institutions across Nigeria.
“This was achieved as a result of joint delivery of complementary services by providing amiable and lasting solutions to our beneficiaries. In addition, the successful strategic partnerships over the years can be attributed to the strong, relentless commitment and cooperation by the leadership of both organisations and zeal to improve education in the country.”
The chairman who disclosed that it had just ended its nationwide tour of institutions to access projects built from its funding said there were over 10,000 different projects across institutions in Nigeria with a budget of N250 billion.
“We are out to prove that public institutions give good account of themselves .”
Asked about the call for the funding of private universities in the country, Imam said, “Private institutions are for profit making. If we start giving them funds, it means we would start excluding the children of the less privileged from accessing quality education.”
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of the fund, Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro, who corroborated Imam on funding of private institutions said the idea was non negotiable.
He noted that in terms of population, the ratio of students in the public institutions compared to private is 94 per cent to six per cent.
He said inspite of the increasing number of beneficiary institutions and limited funds available for interventions, TETfund had performed credibly well over the years in transforming tertiary education in Nigeria.