TETFund Seeks NASS Support To Meet 3% Education Tax Target

Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono

In an effort to increase the funding of public tertiary educational institutions in the country, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has sought the support of the National Assembly towards meeting its target of three percent Education Tax collection before the end of the present administration.

Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono stated this recently when members of the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, led by Hon. Aminu Suleiman, paid an oversight visit to the Fund.

Arc. Echono noted that, given President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment on increased funding for education, as well as the usual support of the National Assembly, the tax rate last year was increased from 2 to 2.5%.

He explained that, “the target is that before the end of this administration, it will increase to three per cent, which is a commitment that the President has already given to the Global Partnership for Education.”

The TETFund Helmsman commended the level of support and cooperation the Fund had enjoyed from the committee and the National Assembly, while seeking its support in effecting the amendment of the education tax law.

“This is a major area that will be seeking the support of the National Assembly in terms of legislation.

“The other aspect is the fact that in contravention of this oversight, we also want to open our activities more to independent assessment and evaluation on our behalf.

“So we have designed a monitoring and evaluation template that will be involving key stakeholders, like the National Assembly, even the staff unions in our tertiary institutions, to join us do independently look at some of the things that we are doing,” he added.

Highlighting the operations of the Fund and the state of finances, especially from 2017 to date, Echono stated that last year’s collection, which was what the Fund used to operate this year, dropped to N189 billion.

“We witnessed a steady rise in collections under the education tax but unfortunately, last year, for the 2021 there was a sharp drop and that left us in a very dare position.

“For example, as I said, from N154 billion in 2017, the tax collection rose steadily to N257 billion over the years.

“So by 2020, we’ve got N257 billion, but unfortunately, last year’s collection, which is what we use to operate this year, dropped sharply to N189 billion.

“So over N60 billion drop revenue or resources available to TETfund and the way we operate, 2021 collections are used for 2022 operations,” Echono said.

On his part, Suleiman assured the Fund of its continued support and cooperation to ensure that the system continue to work stronger.

“We congratulate you and we assure you of our support, without prejudice to the fact that sometimes we can agree to disagree;

“Even when you were the Permanent Secretary, there were times we disagreed entirely with the ministry, but not predicated on any personal motive; and in most cases, we actually arrived at the surface.

“I have no doubt that our relationship will continue here. The essence is for us, like I said, to better the system”, he said.

Also, Suleiman stated that the visit was a legislative requirement on any legislature through various committees that oversight must be conducted and the periodic reports submitted to the House through the culinary bureaus to discuss matters, particularly challenges facing agencies of government.

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