In an effort to ensure flawless management in the remittances of allowances and payment of fees for its overseas scholars, the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) and First Bank of Nigeria, United Kingdom have agreed to work together with a view to resolving the challenges.
Speaking in Abuja while receiving the Managing Director of FBN UK, the financiers used by the PTDF for all payments related to the scheme, the executive secretary of the Fund, Engr. Muttaqha Rabe Darma, restated his commitment to overcoming all issues related to the takeover of the financial management of its Overseas Scholarship Scheme (OSS).
“You may recall that when we took over the OSS management, we had some teething problems, that is issues dealing with remitting allowances into the accounts of the scholars, and sometimes issues, with remittances to the universities accounts, which includes their tuition and accommodation fees, which we have tried to resolve.”
However, Darma said although most of the issues which initially confronted PTDF had been resolved, some problems still occur, necessitating the meeting between the Fund and its UK partners.
He explained that of duplication of payments and bulk payment of fees which often result in delay by the universities to confirm individual scholar’s payment as part of issues to be reconciled by both parties.
“Sometimes a scholar’s payment may go into another scholar‘s account, usually it takes time to recover such payment and remit into the proper account.
We also discussed the issue of having stud copies of all the payments made to the university so we could also be doing all the reconciliation ourselves with the universities because we have had problems with some of these universities threatening our scholars.
Even though we pay promptly, delays still occur between the FBN UK and the universities,” he said.
Darma however noted that the Fund was satisfied with the performance of FBN so far, noting that in the first year of the takeover, 85 per cent success was recorded while the present success rate is about 90 per cent.
These meetings he said, were being held to make sure that 98-99 per cent success rate was achieved.
In his remarks, managing director, FBN UK, Peter Hinson, disclosed that most of the delays occur due to the software put in place to check terrorism.
“With the rising challenge of global terrorism, regulators around the world require all banks to ensure that all payments are checked and not found to be funding terrorism,” he said.
Explaining further, Hinson said majority of banks in the world use software that analysis these payments and stops payment where there is perhaps common names or common word involved in the payment, adding
“we therefore regularly get payments stopped both by our own system and by other banks system.”
He however assured that his technical crew would visit Nigeria to further discuss with PTDF with a view to putting an end to all the issues raised.