The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Professor Suleiman Bogoro has disclosed that over 70 per cent of lecturers in Nigerian universities are now doctorate degree holders.
He said this was away from about 40 per cent PhD holders in universities, it was when a former Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie told President Muhammadu Buhari on July 2015.
Bogoro who made this known at an interactive session with newsmen in Abuja said this feat was achieved through massive sponsorship of lecturers by TETFund for Masters and PhD programmes both at home and abroad as part of efforts to address the acute shortage of qualified lecturers to teach in the nation’s universities.
According to him, TETFund has invested a lot of the training of lecturers bearing in mind that only physical infrastructure development could not bring about the desired quality of tertiary education delivery in the country.
While reacting to an online media report that TETFund received N1 trillion from Federation account in five years and could not account for it because the Fund has no manual and operational guidelines, Bogoro described the report as deliberate falsehood to pull down the corporate image of the agency.
He clarified that TETFund derives its funds from the 2 per cent (2%) Education tax of profit-making organisations in Nigeria, explaining that the agency’s budget does not come from the federation account.
He also disclosed that from 2020, the Fund would establish centres of excellence across universities to boost research and development.
He recalled that the 1992 negotiation of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for the establishment of the Education Trust Fund (ETF) before the nomenclature was changed to TETFund, ASUU was conscious that the intervention agency should not be subject to the annual and traditional budgetary system.
Bogoro said: ‘’I want to say here, go to the laws of TETFund, go to the website. TETFund budget does not come from the federation account. I want to say this to all of you.
“ASUU made sure in negotiation in 1992, which has remained a very important element of the agreement that the trust fund bill proposed should not be subject to annual budgetary, traditional budgetary system.
‘’Our budget is prepared by the management and as chief executive, I take it to the board of trustee members and seek their recommendations to the president through the honourable Minister of Education.
“After the approval of Mr President, the budget comes back through the Minister of Education to the board of trustees. That is the protocol.
‘’TETFund money is derived from the 2% accessible tax of profit-making entities in Nigeria. This is very important for you people to know. If you do not have information about issues, seek clarifications so as not to misinform the public,” he said.
He further noted that due process is followed in the award of TETFund contracts by the institutions, saying however that there were some challenges in some institutions which could not undermine the rigorous process and effective monitoring mechanisms put in place to ensure the right thing done by beneficiary institutions.
He said the agency is transparently managed so as to ensure that Nigerians get the value for money.
‘’I have always opened up, you are aware that only recently, I did something that perhaps very few agencies do. I inaugurated a Technical Advisory Committee on Impact Assessment (TACIA), to undertake and produce the strategic plan for the fund. The committee is made up of 100 per cent none second -staff because I have nothing to hide and I directed all my staff to open up to the books to them.
‘’If you want to find out whether we have financial procedure guidelines, then we send you to that department. You do not even have to bother asking me.
“Some people are saying that we don’t have manuals, we don’t have operational guidelines and I say, that must be another TETFund from another planet, not the one that I am presiding over.
‘’It is very painful and it reminds me when some persons choose to do things that tell me we cannot get it right in our own country. I am too focused to be distracted by speculations aimed at pulling down the corporate image of this organisation’’, he said.