The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has asked the federal government to set aside allocations for the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) as distinct from Nigeria’s overall annual budget.
Emmanuel Osodeke, president of the union, said this will ensure the effective implementation of TETFund projects.
Osodoke was at the TETFund Alliance for Innovative Research (TETFAIR) closing event on Thursday at Innov8 Technology Hub in Abuja.
He spoke against the backdrop of suspicions that the 2024 budget may not attain 100 percent implementation.
CRUDE OIL AND NIGERIA’S BUDGET
Crude oil sales are a major revenue source with which a significant percentage of Nigeria’s annual budget is financed.
Recently, Brent Crude, a global oil benchmark, fell $74.32 per barrel.
This is below Nigeria’s 2024 budgetary benchmark of $77.96 per barrel.
It has raised fears about the possibility of budget under-implementation since the projected revenue is already in jeopardy even before the budget has been passed.
Osodeke said it is strange that the government has decided to lump TETFund allocations for 2024 with other elements in the national budget.
The ASUU president said the public university community must know that “it is finished” once this happens.
HOME GROWN SOLUTIONS
TETFund is the main source of funding for capital projects in many of Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions.
It is funded by a 3% education tax paid from the assessable profits of companies registered in the country.
Emmanuel Osodeke warned against political interference in TETFund from authorities overseeing the scheme.
“Nigeria is in deep crisis. Our best brains whether in the academic or medical are leaving the country. We must rescue our country. Allow the money for universities to go into universities,” he said.
The ASUU president called on education sector stakeholders to patronise local solutions from Nigerian universities.
“In 2020, we were challenged to produce something better than IPPIS (payroll software). It took us two months to produce it, UTAS, which we have presented to the national assembly,” he said.
“When we said let’s test the twin, IPPIS came last, but Nigeria insisted on using IPPIS.
“Every year, the Nigerian government pays $40 to a company in the UK for paying me salary and you reject the one in your university. If you want to do anything, you run abroad.”