Senate committee on tertiary institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has advocated for an increase in education tax from 2.5-3 percent to improve research and development in the country.
The committee made the submission during an oversight visit to TETFund to ascertain the level of 2021/ 2022 performance of the budget.
The committee said the reason for the oversight visit was in compliance with the enactment of the 2022 Appropriation Act, which resolved that committees should embark on oversight visits on Ministries, Departments and Agencies under their jurisdiction.
The committee said the fund’s 2.5 percent education tax paid from accessible profit of companies registered in Nigeria has obviously had a massive and sustained impact on improving tertiary education in Nigeria through several interventions.
The delegation, led by chairman of the committee Hon. Ahmed Baba Kaita expressed hope that the executive secretary of TETFund, Mr. Sonny Echono, would replicate the same vision and mission of transforming the education sector he had while he was serving as the permanent secretary of the ministry in TETFund.
The committee maintained that education and health sectors are two critical sectors that drive development, hence the need for an upward review from 2.5 percent education tax to three percent.
To this end, the delegation hoped that in the next assembly the tax would be increased to three per cent.
Also, while expressing his satisfaction over the reforms and excellent performance of TETFund for the year under review, the chairman of the committee used the opportunity to appeal to the TETFund to incorporate the Mathematical Centre in its interventions, saying that no country can thrive in the area of, research, science, technology, and innovation without embracing mathematics.
Kaita also urged TETFund to expedite efforts on providing an oxygen generator requested by Kaduna State Polytechnic during COVID- 19 in 2020.
In his remarks, Echono appreciated the Committee for its usual support, saying that the harmony between the National Assembly and education sector was highly responsible for achievements recorded in the sector for the past seven years.
He expressed gratitude to the National Assembly for considering the passing of the Finance Act last year which resulted in an increase in education tax percentage to 2.5, adding that it was done on consultation and shared acceptance of the need to increase funding and investment in education.
The Executive Secretary explained that TETFund engages in establishing, revitalising and supporting tertiary institutions which are classified as Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in the area of infrastructure, training and development of academic staff, and promoting research and innovation.
According to him, in 2021, TETFund disbursed N213 billion to tertiary institutions. This, according to him, included the take-off grants for the establishment of new institutions.