The Tertiary Education Trust Fund says it has budgeted a significant increase in annual direct disbursements in response to improvement in tax collections.
The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, made this known in Abuja on Tuesday at an interactive session with heads of beneficiary institutions on the disbursement guidelines for the 2024 intervention cycle.
Echono, who appreciated the Federal Inland Revenue Service for its diligent efforts in collecting the education taxes, said that the 2023 collection was being allocated by the fund for the 2024 intervention projects.
Echono also said that its 2023 collection of education tax was the highest in a single year since inception.
The TETFund boss also attributed the high revenue to increases approved by the former and present administrations to 3 per cent of accessible profit and other factors diligently implemented by the FIRS in collaboration with the TETFund.
Speaking on the proposed areas of focus under the 2024 intervention programme, he said TETFund had budgeted a significant increase in annual direct disbursements in response to the improvement in tax collections.
According to him, 90.54 per cent of taxes generated is budgeted for direct disbursement and designated 6.5 per cent for some projects and 2.94 for stabilisation to enable the fund to respond to emerging issues, all of which are subject to final distribution/approvals.
“The proposed new interventions in the annual direct disbursement include the establishment of Career Centre/Unit in all categories of beneficiary institutions, as well as institution-based skills development for polytechnics to improve the employability and career prospects of students.
“For the Special Direct Disbursement, we have increased the allocation and number of beneficiary institutions for the Special High Impact Programme,” he said.
He added that SHIP would also focus on “provision of hostels using the Public Private Partnership arrangement for selected beneficiary institutions.
“We have also sustained allocations for Research including the National Research Fund Research and Innovation Fund, uptake of research findings to commercialisation, and supervision of scholars’ PhD research.
“We have made provision for four central multipurpose laboratories and an additional provision for the three agricultural laboratories and farms initiated in 2023.
“We have sustained the implementation of the ICT roadmap with provision for converged services, subscription services for fixed cable /internet access and the Tertiary Education Research Application Services initiative.
“There will be an upgrade of laboratories, workshops and equipment to Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education (Technical) for the 2024 Intervention Year. There will also be the early grade resource centres phase II to Colleges of Education,” he said.
He described the year 2023 as “an impactful year that had witnessed a series of programmes such as the development of the TETFund ICT roadmap culminating in the deployment of the BIMS and launching of the TERAS platforms.
He added that there had also been the commencement of the designs and strategy for the innovation hubs to selected beneficiary institutions, and the constitution of the committee for the establishment of two central research laboratories.
Echono expressed the fund’s determination to deepen research, promote innovation and honing of skills, and encourage the discovery and development of creative talents amongst scholars and especially the students as a major pillar of the renewed hope agenda of the present administration.
Source: Punch Newspaper