By: Babagana Bukar Wakil Ngala Maiduguri
The Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund), Matawallle Kashim Ibrahim Imam on Monday disclosed that between 2019 and 2021, Tetfund has disbursed over N300 billion as interventions fund in about 226 tertiary institutions across the country for physical projects, academic research, libraries, ICTs, laboratory equipment, purchase
of utility vehicles and other infrastructural development projects.
Imam also said: “Tetfund is 10 years old and we have in excess of 10,000 projects across the country in various tertiary institutions of the country to show for our efforts. We are expecting additional N100 billion to be added to the N300 billion we have expended in the year 2021. Although, we requested for N500 billion so far
Others include Nigerian Army University in Biu and the newly approved Federal Polytechnic Monguno which we have asked for take off grant of N2 billion.
“We have also completed various projects while some are ongoing in many tertiary institutions across the country as there is no tertiary institution that we have visited that does not have at least minimum of at least 50 completed and ongoing projects fully funded by tertfund and I want to assure all the institutions that we are going to do much more than what we have done in the past as we expect increase in the 2022 Tertfund budget”.
The Chairman who stated this during the TETfund/FIRS 2021 Joint Interactive Forum held at Pinnacle Hotel and Luxury Suites Maiduguri Monday with a Theme, “Improving EDT Collection in the Post Pandemic Era” said; “in the past 10 years, Tetfund has successfully trained more than 30,000 lecturers across the country for masters and PhD programmes locally and internationally.”
“In 2021 alone, the budget of Tetfund was about N300 billion and each public tertiary institution in the county was accessed with an overall budget of about N900 million, each polytechnic was accessed in excess of N800 million while the colleges of education were accessed in excess of N700 million.
”We have about 226 tertiary institutions on our records as at the last count in December 2021and we are still counting more this year 2022. For academic staff training and research development, each university accessed about N150 million, Polytechnic and colleges of education N120 million each in 2021”.
He explained that the interactive forum with the FIRS was organized to see them and consolidate in the harmonious working relationship a d further improve on strategic tax collection towards achieving the ETFund mandate to every public tertiary institution in Nigeria, stressing that, “Tetfund is however committed to building the education sector through training of the academic staff and building of projects to make teaching and learning more conducive in the country.”
He however also said there was need for the various tertiary institutions to examine and evaluate the costs effectiveness of their staff training abroad and resolved to look inward for more staff to be trained locally given the challenges of the depreciating value of naira to foreign currencies and COVID-19 pandemic.
Imam said”, For several reasons, physical infrastructures have taken over about two-third of our annual interventions but we still place our premium on training of lecturers which informed the reason why we have so many beneficiaries of our training Programmes here who are here with us to see you physically and hear from you.”
The Executive Chairman, Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS), Alh. Muhammad M. Nami represented by the Group Coordinating Director,
General Tax Operations, FIRS said the organization has impressively did it best and generated revenue higher than its Target both in 2019, 2020 and 2021 despite the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.
He however called on all Nigerians and tax stakeholders to put all hands in deck for collective and proper tax payments and collections across board towards improving socio economic and political activities of government , especially, education which takes 85% and federal government takes only 15% of the revenue generated annually by the FIRS.
The Executive Chairman noted that the joint interactive forum if the ETFUND and FIRS was purposely aimed at strengthening and fostering the existing harmonious relationship as well exchange ideas in how best the two bodies can improve their services to Nigerians.
Nami added that in the last year 2021 revenue generation alone FIRS generated N 6.4 trillion higher than its budget proposal or target of N5.4 trillion for the first time and very impressive so far, pointing out that,all was as a result of improved improved withholding tax, VAT, Company tax, Technology tax, etc .
He also stressed the need for employment of solutions for tax registration online for tax clearance certificate which was introduced last year in 2921 towards increasing revenue base of the federal government.
The Executive Chairman further maunatined that the improvement drive informed the showcasing of achievements of FIRS to the participants which is important to give tax apparatus for VAT, company tax, Education tax, Technology tax and withholding tax among others .
He also commended the BOT Chairman, ETFUND for executing gigantic projects out of the revenue mobilized y the FIRS while urging Nigerians to put hands on deck, tax collector’s to come together, collect revenue and achieve the mandate of provision of infrastructures by the Government.
In his presentation titles,” Improving EDT Collection in the Post Pandemic Era”, the Group Coordinating Director,General Tax Operations, FIRS, Alhaji Kabir Abba said prompt payments of taxes and penalties will ensure regular and prompt salary payments , execution of government projects, ETFUND projects , etc .
While stressing that the essence if the ETFUND and FIRS interactive forum in Maiduguri was to strengthen partnerships and block all possible leakages or loopholes on revenue collection in the past pandemics era , disclosing that there other raxes also that revenue can be generated on like the land tax, property tax, etc among other levies including companies annual turn over.
On his part, the Executive Secretary, Tetfund , Prof Suleiman Elias Bogoto disclosed that no fewer than 1,127 lecturers have been trained from various tertiary institutions by Tetfund at the cost of over N5 billion to date.
Accordingly, he said ,the forum further aimed to relate and harmonize records of achievements of the two bodies with the beneficiaries of the projects and also to interact with scholars to tap from their experiences, particularly those that have travelled oversee in the period under review.
Prof. Bogoro in his presentation said, “From inception, Tetfund has invested over N161 billion for staff training and over N32 billion for conference attendance and teaching practice and out of this investment, we have trained both local and international more than 30,000 academic staff across the country.
“We also sponsored over 68 conference attendants and over 79, 000 for teaching practice outings. The essence of the exercise cannot be over emphasized because there has never been an attempt since inception by the fund to look at all its interventions to tertiary institutions.
On his part the task controller says Borno state directorate says that in developed countries more than 90% of the citizen pays their taxes and they’re even proud of doing it. He however advocated the need for sensitisation, to educate the tax payers to meet the global practise standard .
Some beneficiaries of the programme scholarships from university of Maiduguri and others applauded tetfund for its support and encouragement.
Highlights if the event include presentations by the Executive Chairman, FIRS and Executive Secretary, TETFUND, photographs, answers and answers, comments and contributions from the participants as well tour of tertiary institutions within Maiduguri city by the participants.