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Sunday, 8 November 2020

Era of Dumping Projects on Universities Over - Tetfund BoT Chairman

The Chairman of Board of Trustees, Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Tetfund, Mr. Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, says the era of dumping projects on the universities is over. 

He stressed that the agency would never fund projects not originated by the beneficiary tertiary educational institutions and their critical stakeholders, including the students.

This was even as Tetfund Board committed to expanding e-learning and construction of hostel accommodation for the students in Nigerian tertiary institutions of learning.

Ibrahim-Imam spoke during separate interactive sessions with the management and students of the Rivers State University and University of Port Harcourt as well as the Niger Delta University, Amassoma and Federal University Otuoke, Bayelsa State, in continuation of the Board's interactive and projects inspection tour of over 50 tertiary educational institutions across the country.

“In fact, there are only two projects that were designed in a way that had no inputs from either the universities or Tetfund, yet huge sums of money were expended on them in previous administrations.

“This is disheartening. It is the wrong way to spend public funds. But I want to assure you that, that era, which I consider as an era of impunity, is gone forever. Nobody will sit down and just dump anything on the universities.  Tetfund under this Board will never recklessly invest in anything without first consulting the beneficiary institutions to determine their needs. It will never happen again”, he said.

He however, enjoined management of beneficiary institutions to do more to ensure that there is always value for every fund they receive from Tetfund, as Tetfund does not directly execute projects.

“Yes, we collaborate with the universities and other institutions to ensure that we get value for money, but we don’t have the manpower or mandate to execute projects. We can only come on project inspection, to see for ourselves the quality of work, but the day-to-day supervision is the responsibility of the universities.

“The universities must, therefore, take ownership from conceptualisation to execution. We expect each university management to ensure that quality work is done and that the directors, deans, and students are part and parcel of every stage. If you are not getting value for money, if you notice corruption and poor handling, begin to raise the alarm very early during project conceptualisation, design, procurement, and execution, not after completion. Going forward, if any project fails after completion, the contractor must be held liable”, he added.

The Board Chairman, however, expressed satisfaction with the quality of work the four universities had so far done with the funds received from Tetfund.

“Last year, Rivers State University got N3billion as the high impact intervention, which is given to one university per geopolitical zone. You can see what that has gone into, namely Faculty of Education, Faculty of Humanities, and Faculty of Social Sciences complexes. We are impressed by the quality of work ongoing”, Ibrahim-Imam stated.

Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellors, who received the Tefund team in their respective institutions, not only commended Tetfund for what they described as the agency’s enormous impacts in their universities, but said they needed more.

“You can see Tetfund intervention projects all over this university and we are grateful for that, but we equally need some more”, the Vice Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, said.

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