By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—THE Federal Government said it has spent a total of N727,225,862,128.86 in the last four years on intervention in public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
The disclosure came as the government expressed serious disappointment over what it described as “lack of accountability in some of the nation’s tertiary institutions.”
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, said the amount was spent on intervention in critical areas of tertiary education in the life of the Buhari administration in the last four years.
He said: “Let me reiterate that the Federal Government will not fold its arms to watch public educational institutions funded from the public purse flout the laws of public accountability.
“During the period under review, the Federal Government, through the instrumentality of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, allocated a total of N727,225,862,128.86 worth of investment in critical areas of infrastructural development in our tertiary institutions, especially in physical infrastructure, project maintenance, Information and Communication Technology, ICT, support, entrepreneurship, library development and special high impact projects, academic staff training and development, and research, among others.
“TETFund intervention is aside from other sources of funding tertiary education such as the NEEDS Assessment, internally generated revenue of these institutions among others.”
Calling on Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, to call off its strike, the minister said: “We have virtually resolved all issues as we await the union to also call off their strike in the coming days.
Similarly, the government team has reached agreement with ASUU.It is my hope that academic activities will also resume in universities campuses across the country without further delay.”
In particular, we have reached agreement in the following areas” Review of Polytechnic Act
‘’Government awaits the transmittal of the amended document by the National Assembly to Mr. President for his assent;Revitalization of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education
‘’Government is committed to the revitalization of facilities in its public tertiary institutions and has directed the Honourable Minister of Finance to source for additional funding to the tune of N30 billion for the purpose, with particular reference to Polytechnics and Colleges of Education; State Owned Polytechnics.”’
“The National Board for Technical Education has been directed to strengthen its regulatory mechanism including developing a new template for accreditation to address observed weaknesses and to ensure that proprietors of Polytechnics including States and Private Owners meet their obligations to their staff.
“Allowances and shortfalls Arrears and shortfalls in salary are being addressed across board. ‘ To this end, Government has released N16.8 billion to settle outstanding arrears. Disbursement is ongoing through the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation;Renegotiation of the 2010 Agreements.
“As a demonstration of Government’s commitment to continuous dialogue with the staff unions, the Ministry will provide alternative funding for the stalled renegotiations in the Polytechnics sub- sector.
“The National Board for Technical Education and the National Commission for Colleges of Education have also been directed to ensure compliance with the approved schedules of meetings with their respective Unions.