LAGOS – The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) on Thursday said the nation’s tertiary institutions had yet to access the over N100 billion meant for their infrastructural development.
Mrs Anna Kolawole, a member of TETFund Board of Trustees in the South-West Zone, made this known in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
She spoke on the sidelines of a two-day Interactive Workshop on TETfund Guidelines for Accessing Intervention Funds held at the University of Lagos, Akoka.
The forum was meant to educate benefitting institutions on how to conform to TETFund projects, programmes and financial guidelines.
“We are here to find the way forward on what can be the possible obstacle in accessing funds that have been specifically earmarked for the development of our tertiary institutions.
“We are worried by the fact that these funds are lying fallow in the coffers unaccessed.
“Yet, there is always this public outcry of underfunding of the education sector, especially the tertiary institutions.
“I do not know what is actually stopping administrators of our tertiary institutions from accessing these funds because it is not that we are asking for collateral or Certificates of Occupancy or even guarantors,” she said.
Earlier, Dr Musa Babayo, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of TETFund, said the major impediment to prompt accessing of funds over the years had been improper documentation of proposals.
Babayo also said that incomplete renditions of returns on the part of the beneficiary institutions’ management had resulted in the accumulation of un-accessed funds.
“The Board of Trustees, at its various meetings, had noted this unacceptable trend and decided that something has to be done.
“Consequently, we have directed the management to study all the processes developed over time with a view to harmonising and streamlining them into one concise set of guidelines to be presented in a booklet form.
“The set of guidelines so developed must be agreeable to all stakeholders.
“Therefore, it has become pertinent to use this medium to put heads together and address the issues so as to ensure timely delivery of good quality projects nationwide.
“We expect this interactive forum to get the input of all stakeholders in the development of the guidelines to ensure prompt and accurate documentation of projects and returns to ease access to the intervention funds.
“We also expect that these guidelines will promote the achievement of the desired results through ensuring effective rendition of returns by beneficiaries.
“It will thus bring efficiency and a more sustainable way of reducing the high level of unaccessed funds,’’ he said.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, said the workshop would seek to address the issues surrounding official complaints from the Bureau of Public Procurement on non-compliance of the beneficiaries of TETFund.
“I want to assure you that the Fund is fully committed to the delivery of high quality and forward looking interventions for the educational development of the nation.
“I implore other stakeholders in the education sector to collaborate with the Fund to ensure the development of the required high quality manpower to drive the nation’s economy toward attainment of Vision 20:2020,’’ he said.
In his comments, Prof. Adekunle Okesina, the Vice Chancellor, Osun State University, Osogbo, said that there were constraints in the laid down rules in accessing the funds.
Okesina appealed to TETFund to also consider the cost of processing the assessment of the funds. (NAN)