N41.6 billion basic education fund unaccessed by states ― UBEC boss

THE Executive Secretary of Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Hamid Bobboyi has disclosed that a total N41 billion matching grant for the development of key infrastructure in primary schools across the country has not been accessed by 36 states and Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

He made this known on Wednesday in Abuja while presenting the 2020 Capital Budget Performance to the Senate Committee on Education (Basic and Secondary) during an oversight visit to Commission. The Committee was led by the Acting Chairman, Senator Ekon Eyakenyi.

Bobboyi, however, disclosed that over N143 billion grants have been accessed by the States and FCT from 2017 to 2020, out of the N184.8 billion that was made available by the Commission.

He explained that no state has accessed the 2020 matching grant because of delay in the release of funds for capital projects occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, saying originally the 2020 matching grant was only due for access by states in January 2021.

He also revealed that only Ogun State was yet to access its 2018 allocations while 10 states have not also access their 2019 grants as of March 8, 2020.

He listed the states to include Kebbi, Niger, Ogun, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Imo, Edo, Abia and Lagos but added that Abia, Lagos and Kebbi had in a few days lodged their payments.

Bobboyi, who lamented the several challenges bedevilling the basic education sector, said UBEC was appropriated 29.7 billion in the 2020 budget for capital projects with N1.3 billion for Federal Teacher Scheme; Constituency Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP) – N2.8 billion and Constituency projects (Capital) – N25. 6 billion.

He, however, said that only N29. 75 billion (99.2 percent) was released to the Commission as of December 2020.

Bobboyi said with the capital releases, the Commission awarded contracts to the tune of N27.5 billion for 2,895 constituency projects across the country, adding that 939 of such projects have been completed while 1,956 are ongoing.

He said the projects cut across classroom construction, classroom renovation and supplies of education items.

The UBEC boss said: “30 states and FCT have implemented 2018 (matching grant projects), six states namely; Anambra, Imo, Kaduna, Kwara, Ogun and Plateau are yet to implement, eight states have implemented 2019 matching grants projects, 28 states and FCT are yet to implement. In 2020, no state implemented the matching grants projects.”

Earlier, the acting Chairman of the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, Senator Akon Eyakenyi, said the team was at UBEC to assess its activities in line with the mandate of the Senate.

“UBEC is a major agency under this Committee because the foundation of education begins with UBEC. If we miss it at that level it will be difficult to get it right,” the Akwa-Ibom’s born senator said.

On his part, a member of the committee and a former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, described as “an embarrassment the 13.4 million out-of-school children in the country.”

He called for the establishment of emergency schools in the northern parts of the country to tackle the problem, urging the Commission to migrate to a smart school system to enable children to adapt to a technologically advancing world.

He also stressed the need to place more emphasis on fixing insecurity in the north where attacks on schools have become the order of the day while lamenting the persistent out-of-school challenge which requires a new approach.


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