VC Laments Tax Burden on Private Universities

James Sowole in Abeokuta

The Vice Chancellor of Chrisland University, Abeokuta, Prof. Chinedum Babalola, yesterday lamented that private universities in the country were not benefitting anything from government apart from licencing and regulatory role that the government was playing.

Chinedum said rather than benefitting from government’s intervention in terms of structure and facilities, private universities were groaning under heavy tax burden.

The vice Chancellor, stated this at a news conference on the Fourth Convocation Ceremony of the university, holding from Monday, November 7 to Wednesday, November 9, 2022.

She said private universities would be better if the Federal Government’s intervention projects like Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) are extended to them.

“We are actually being taxed like profit making organisations. We are now proposing that private universities in Nigeria should be treated like charity organisations and that their taxes should be reduced because for now, private universities are not benefiting from the TETFUND.

“When you go to the public universities, you will see TETFUND buildings. The major financial drains in a university is capital project. Budget allocation for capital projects in private universities runs into several billions of naira.

“You can imagine if TET-FUND should construct two or three buildings in a private university such as ours here, that will be a big relief.

“So, private universities don’t benefit from the TET-FUND, rather, they give through a lot of taxation and probably, through the taxes, they fund TET-FUND. What we benefit now is issuance of operating licence and approval of new and existing programmes,” he explained.

He added: “To me, private universities are non-profit making organizations. If any private university is making profit, I will like to see such a university, but I don’t think there is any.”

The vice chancellor, who said all the 28 programmes of the university started admitting students in 2016, noted that a total of 52 students, would be graduating at the Fourth Convocation Ceremony.

Giving the breakdown of the graduating students, Babalola said nine students made First Class, 27 made Second Class Upper Division, 14 made Second Class Lower Division while two students are graduating with Third Class.

The Vice Chancellor, who was recently reappointed for another tenure of five years, said the university has been very unique in many aspects

According to her, the number of graduating students, had been on the increase since the First Convocation in 2019, when the institution, graduated seven students.

She said, “The number of graduands has been on the increase every year with seven first convocation, it rose to 28 during the second convocation, to 44 at the third convocation and now 52 at this year’s convocation, which is the fourth. We hope to have more next year as the students’ population, has been on the increase.”

The vice chancellor disclosed that the university for the first time, would confer Honourary Doctoral Awards on the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Aremu Gbadebo and Mrs Folorunso Alakija.

She disclosed that apart from the Honourary Doctoral in Political Science that would be conferred on the monarch, a main road on the institution’s campus, would be named after him while Alakija, would be conferred with Honourary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration.

Babalola also disclosed that the Convocation Lecture with the topic, “Visible and Invisible Hands of Development: Interrogating the Roles of Tertiary Institutions and the Financial Sector in Nigeria,” would be delivered by the Chairman of Access Bank, Dr. Derin Awosika.

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