Minister promises special provision in allocation for projects completion

Spends N7 bn  on Benue State University in 23 years

By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA–THE Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund,has blamed slow pace of work in its various intervention projects in public  tertiary institutions across the country to fluctuations in prices of important building materials, COVID-19 lockdown and disruption to other economic activities.

 But the Fund said it has secured the commitment of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu to make special provision in its future allocation to tackle the projects experiencing delay.

TETFund’s Executive Secretary, Arc. Sonny Echono,who said these ,Tuesday,while hosting the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the Benue State University, Sebastine Hon, SAN, and other top management staff of the institution on a courtesy visit to him,said his organisation had undertaken a comprehensive review  of all outstanding projects with a view to working on those that are close to completion.

Echono was responding to the request by the varsity pro-chancellor for  intervention in the completion of ongoing projects in the university.

“We have projects that commenced but because of fluctuations in prices of important building materials,  because of the delay associated with the Covid lockdown and other disruption to other economic activities we now have both time and cost overhead and the earlier we address this the better for our country as we will not  have abandoned projects litering round our campuses,” Echono said. 

He added: “I have earlier given the directive that as a matter of policy, we have undertaken a comprehensive review  of all of our outstanding projects with a view to bringing those that are close to completion, speedy completion through the various strategies we have identified… 

“I am also pleased to inform you that we have secured the concurrence of the Honourable Minister of Education that from next year, we will have a special provision in our allocations for the completion of all ongoing projects…..”

Echono said the special provision which was hitherto captured in the the Fund’s allocation to beneficiary institutions will address the issue of delay in projects’ completion.

 The Executive Secretary, who said TETFund has  a very high rate of completion of projects, promised that the Fund would also look into the request for special intervention on the BSU library that was affected by storm through its Stability Fund.

Speaking earlier,the Chairman of Governing Board of the Benue State University, acknowledged TETFund for committing about N7 billion to its various intervention projects in Benue State University,BSU)l, Makurdi, from 1999 to date. 

While congratulating Echono on his appointment as TETFund boss,  Hon commended President Muhammadu Buhari over his choice, even as he described the Executive Secretary as “one of our illustrious alumni, having graduated with a degree in MBA in  Management from our University.” 

While expressing delight over the various TETFund  projects that now dotted the University’s campus, the Pro-Chancellor appealed  for the speedy completion of other ongoing projects. 

He said : “We are here to also acknowledge and express the profound appreciation of the Visitor, the Council, Management, Staff and Students for the support both in terms of content-base Interventions and Infrastructure BSU has benefitted from

TETFund from 1999 till now. 

“Our campus is dominated with TETFund-sponsored legacy

structures including the central library, laboratories, lecture theatres, faculty buildings, student social centre, and entrepreneurship development centre, not excluding research (IBR, NRF, ARJ, AMB), academic training and conferences (foreign and local), post-doctoral, Bench work and developments in ICT.

“In all, the University has received about seven billion

Naira (N7,000,000,000.00) in intervention from TETFund between 1999 and now. 

” For want of time, we would have provided the statistics to enable the ES to understand our excitement and appreciation to TETFund in this regard.

” The Executive Secretary Sir, we have some TETFund-supported projects on-going now. Whereas some of the contractors have shown commitment, some have been poor.

” It is important to mention that the Covid-19 lockdown affected the speed and cost as it were. The projects include, Construction and furnishing of Faculty of Education building -85%; Construction and furnishing of Research Development and Innovation Centre – 90%; Construction and furnishing of Academic Office building-80%;

Construction and furnishing of block of offices for College of Health Sciences – 90%; Construction and furnishing of Faculty of Science building – 45%.”

Speaking further, the Pro-Chancellor called for a waiver to access the 2021/2022 TETFund’s allocations to enable the university address its challenges as well as special intervention on the institution’s library that was recently touched by heavy storm. 

Hear him:” We have a very small campus, and we desire to expand in terms of content-base and infrastructure. Our University has commenced appreciable steps with NUC to commence the following

programmes: Architecture, Pharmacy, Engineering, and Building Engineering. 

“Therefore, and further to the level of completion of the above listed projects, we hereby appeal to you to grant us a waiver to allow the University to access the 2021 and 2022 annual allocations to

enable us to proceed with the projects tied to those allocations.

“We wish to also report that our central library suffered severe damage caused by a recent storm. This has left the building and property therein exposed to the elements. We desire to submit a request for disaster intervention.” 

On his part, the TETFund boss, who commended BSU for its massive contribution towards the production of relevant manpower in the country, said the university was one of the first to be established in the entire northern part of Nigeria by state government. 

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