N1.3trn NEEDS Assessment Funds: Minister reads riot act to universities

The Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau, has asked all public universities who are beneficiaries of the annual N1.3 trillion NEEDS assessment fund to ensure due process is followed in all procurement processes as contained in the Public Procurement Act 2007.

The minister spoke at a one day retreat in Abuja, of the National Universities Commission NUC’s Implementation Monitoring Committee, IMC, on the Needs Assessment Intervention in Nigerian Public Universities.

He emphasised on transparency and accountability for the usage of the tax payers funds, stating that relevant agencies would ensure audit of all funds disbursed.

The Minister outlined the procedure for the disbursement of projects funds as already spelt out and agreed on by the IMC on a three-phased disbursement.

“There should be no reason for abandoned projects in our institutions especially those provided for under this intervention,” he said.

He explained that the money would cover rehabilitation of dilapidated structures, construction of new ones as per the needs.

He added that the universities should ensure that all new projects were sited on their permanent site.

The Minister advised that there must be no delay in meeting financial obligations to contractors, vendors, suppliers and staff undergoing training.

He called on all schools’ management to keep abreast of current laws, best practices, government policies, white papers, circulars, gazettes and other relevant documents that will help in decision making.

Following the six month strike embarked on by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, in 2013 and subsequent NEEDS assessment, the federal government issued N1.3 trillion to the institutions to be disbursed over a period of six years from 2013 to 2018.

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