By Oluwakemi Oladipo and Oluwatope Lawanson
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, says the Federal Government is determined to leverage on transformation of public tertiary institutions, to outlive landscape of the education sector.
Adamu who was represented by Dr Sunny Kuku, Pro-Chancellor, University of Benin and Co- founder, Eko Hospital, made the assertion at the third edition of Taxpayers’ Forum, organised by Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) on Thursday, in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme has the theme: “TETFund Intervention; Catalyst For Transforming Tertiary Education in Nigeria”.
The minister said transformation of the country’s public tertiary institutions would be a deliberate emphasis on science subjects, as was the current global trend.
“I wish to urge all stakeholders in the education sector, especially the public tertiary institutions, that government is determined to ensure that it transforms the entire landscape of our institutions.
“We have recently been approving more funds for priority content components like research, manuscript development, library development and academic staff training and development.
“TETFund has over the years, contributed immensely to the advancement of tertiary education in Nigeria, through the commitment of this respectable forum, using the two per cent Education Tax (EDT) collection.
“It is no longer news that TetFund has become a model Nigerian intervention brand, with a preponderance of different intervention projects that cut across critical sectors of tertiary institutions,” Adamu said.
He added that in the last three decades, billions of naira had been realised as EDT, which had impacted tremendously in transforming and repositioning of institutions in Nigeria.
“Hence, it did not come as a surprise, when in 2012, TETFund decided to appreciate its taxpayers for the first time ever and instituted the taxpayers forum,” Adamu said.
Also, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, Executive Secretary of TETFund, said research remained the most important aspect and instrument of advanced learning and innovation, if society intended to make meaningful progress.
Bogoro said research had remained a special intervention line of the fund, since it was introduced in 2009.
“Despite efforts of my predecessors around research, given the level of growth in the country, I took the decision to take research to the next level in the country.
“Accordingly, in 2014, I recommended that the Board of Trustees should approve establishment of the Department of Research and Development/Centers of Excellence in TetFund.
“It was thought that research without development, will not provide the growth that Nigeria direly needs as a nation,” Bogoro said.
He added that the intention to promote research and innovation in tertiary institutions, research institutions and industry, as well as establishment of centers of excellence across tertiary institutions, remained a priority.
“Within the fund, the national research fund was set up, N3 billion was provided for its take off in 2011 and in 2015, another N1 billion was added.
“Our commitment and resolve to contribute in building a prosperous nation remains unshaken,” Bogoro said.
He added that today marked the third edition in the series of taxpayers’ forum that the TETFund had been organising, since its inception in 2011.
“The significance of regular interactions between TetFund, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and taxpayers across the country, cannot be over emphasised.
“We are here to appreciate the taxpayers in particular, for their patriotism and sacrifice in supporting us and in the payment of education tax respectively,” he said.
Mr Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, Chairman, Board of Trustees, TETFund, said the taxpayers forum had always served as a platform to honour and identify individuals and companies that had made tremendous contributions to education.
Ibrahim-Imam said the individuals and companies, contributed to education through consistent payment of education tax.
“TETFund has become synonymous with excellence. Currently, we have partnered with another Federal agency to energise at least, 25 institutions with electricity,” he said.
Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, said TETFund had left indelible positive footprints and served as a catalyst for sustainable tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Ogundipe said that TETFund interventions had impacted positively on infrastructural and human development of tertiary institutions over the years.
“Inconsistencies in education tax payments by companies has translated to low EDT collections.
“Available data in 2018, confirms that about 2,286,812 companies are registered in Nigeria, but only 104,624 have been paying EDT since inception of the fund,” he said.
NAN reports that TETFund awarded some individuals and companies, who had contributed to the success of funds intervention.
They included, the minister of education; Alhaji Muhammad Nami- Executive Chairman, FIRS, Nigeria LNG and Nestle Nigeria Ltd., among others.(NAN) (www.nannews.ng)