The executive secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Professor Suleiman Bogoro has said the Fund is living up to its mandate since inception.
Bogoro, who stated this recently in an interview with LEADERSHIP said to a large extent there is a sense of fulfillment by observers, stakeholders, and all Nigerians from the response of the Fund across the country.
The TETFund boss who was speaking on the significance and the impact of the Fund since it came into being over 10 years, said the crises of funding the education sector gave birth to the establishment of Education Tax Fund (ETF) in 1993.
The Fund, according to him has since metamorphosed to Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) and has spread its interventions beyond infrastructural development to other service areas.
“TETFund metamorphosed from the Education Trust Fund (ETF). We know that it existed for almost 18 years before it became or was renamed with a slightly modified mandate in 2011.
“I can tell you because I am privileged to have been part of the team that negotiated from the platform of ASUU in 1990 to 92.
“So, I would say I know the story. I know that it was created by law as an education tax fund initially, and then later trust fund.
“We did not anticipate that the law would create windows for institutions and entities that were not initially the priority to benefit. And that is how a number of institutional bodies and the basic sub sector benefited from the ETF, including primary schools and secondary schools. In fact, a number of institutions outside the education sector benefited but that was not our idea.
“That’s why ASUU insisted in subsequent negotiations with the government to return to the original focus, which was the tertiary sub sector,” he said.
Specifically, he said the Fund was meant for universities, polytechnics, and Colleges of Education owned by the federal government and states, saying that what led to the demand for a non appropriation funding window for tertiary education institutions in Nigeria, especially the public ones, was inadequate funding.
The ES noted that the funding seemed to affect that sub sector and they decided to consider a non-budgetary funding window, necessitating the need for innovation of the two per cent education tax, where the government accepted it, and it came into being with an agreement between ASUU and the government.
“It came into being by law in 1993 as ETF that is TETFund today from 2011. In summary, I would say the purpose has been significantly achieved.
“I would wish that it were even better than this but along the line, there were hiccups. But from 2011 when the focus became clear – the tertiary sub sector, we have seen more visible effects of the application of the 2 per cent education tax.
“So I would say to a large extent that there is a sense of fulfillment by observers, stakeholders, and I think overall, Nigerians from the response across the country.
“So, that speaks volumes about the importance and the significance and the impact of TETFund since it came into being as it is so designated from 2011, exactly 10 years,” Bogoro added.
Speaking on TETFund’s recent connection with Science Granting Council Initiative in Sub Saharan Africa, Bogoro said it go a long way in strengthening the R&D.
“Talking about R&D, the most visible aspects of R&D are the science driven companies no doubt about that. You just close your eyes and imagine, can any nation do that infrastructure?
“The roads, the bridges, the buildings, the aviation, Railway, railway reports, you can go on and on basic infrastructure, I mean, talking about ships, these are the kinds of infrastructure not talking about power and so on and so forth. ICT generally, as it were, and you couldn’t do those things without science technological innovation.
“It is said, the most competitive economies and nations in the world are those that prioritize science. And so there is no doubt about the science granting council that is the organization that has been so recognized and manages the funds for Nigeria, this is a credible recognition.”
“And don’t forget is barely a few weeks ago, I announced where we are giving the allocation of 2022, going forward academic staff training that we will the Board of Trustees realize that if our code, even the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, he says it all, at the board meeting he said, I am not in science, I’m in humanities, but check out most competitive nations is those that prioritize science.”
He added that the Fund is working towards getting the National R&D foundation for Nigerians that will define and practicalise knowledge economy and make our economy more robust, more sustainable, more dependable and more competitive.
“You will agree with me that tetfund is virtually responsible for the essentially the capital expenditure component for public tertiary institutions and the budgetary window remains there to address other aspects like personnel costs, day to day running of the institution.
“So it was really innovative and that’s why other African countries have come and in fact, let me say this, you are right to have said the profile of TETFund has risen in the eyes of the international community beyond Africa. As I talk to you now, we are, in fact, we have a number of events this week, as I talked to you, we have an international agency that is flying into Nigeria, from the United States, to seek partnership with TETFund,” he added.