The Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Mr. Sonny Echono has said the fund is making efforts to complete about 175 distressed TETFund projects in various higher institutions in the country.
He said the attitude of some heads of the institutions who would stop work on projects initiated by their predecessors led to the projects being abandoned.
Speaking in Lagos, yesterday at the opening of a two-day seminar for desk officers on TETFund intervention programmes in beneficiary institutions, Echono wondered why some vice-chancellors, rectors and provosts would decide to turn their campuses to personal estates.
“We are giving priority attention to the completion of abandoned projects across the country and we are doing that this year and the next. I am advising heads of the institutions not to jettison inherited structures and projects. Some of the heads abandoned some projects because they were not the initiators.
“Among the abandoned projects, we have some that we just need to do a little work and we are good to go. Many of such are to be inaugurated in the next one or two weeks. Some are not like that and the contracts may have to be determined,” he explained.
On the new library project at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) that was abandoned for over five years, Echono said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) would have to wade into the matter.
“The UNILAG library project was awarded by the FEC and for anything to be done, FEC would have to revisit the matter. If it is found out that the contractor is incompetent, then the contract could be determined. But if he is competent to handle it, he could be given more funds to finish it,” he said.
On the fate of some scholars given scholarship to study in the Far East and other remote locations, he said it was unfortunate that the value of the naira changed from the level it was when they were going.
“We won’t allow our scholars to be stranded. We are doing everything possible to assist them. When most of them were going a few years back, a dollar was about N480, but now the rate has gone high. Also, the cost of living has gone high globally too. People we gave $1,000 to as living expenses allowance now need about $1,500.
“To guard against such in the future, we are going to change the pattern of our scholarship awards. We will make it 30 per cent foreign and 70 per cent local,” he added.
The executive secretary urged the desk officers to see themselves as the interface between the fund and the heads of their schools and live up to expectations.