The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Suleiman Bogoro, has said the organisation is querying some tertiary institutions over the poor handling of intervention projects by some contractors.
He said the monitoring and evaluation unit of the agency decided to send the institutions ‘outright queries’ after inspecting the quality of work done by the contractors.
Mr Bogoro, at a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday, admitted that the agency has “gross challenges in some institutions.”
Mr Bogoro’s explanation is coming few weeks after a PREMIUM TIMES story assessed the qualification of companies that handled some projects at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi.
The newspaper also reported how two contractors currently handling projects under the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) faulted PREMIUM TIMES’ report on the eligibility of their companies to be awarded jobs.
Although Mr Bogoro didn’t mention the names of the universities, the report assessed the qualification of companies that handled some projects at ATBU.
The project, reported to be on defect liability period, was built at the Gubi Campus of the institution, at the cost of N285 million.
However, the Tetfund official said he has sought the approval of the Board of Trustees of the agency to introduce independent monitoring, saying that this would enthrone transparency.
He said the management of TETFund welcomes any criticism “if there were weaknesses in its activities and was ready to make correction”.
”On the allegation of unqualified contractors being used in universities, this is not true. Yes, we have gross challenges in some institutions. There are those institutions we have sent outright queries from the monitoring and evaluation unit. We have undertaken a forensic audit, ” he said.
“I have also sought the approval of the Board of Trustees to introduce independent monitoring. It is to demonstrate transparency.”
The official said private tertiary institutions in the country cannot be funded by the federal government.
He said this is because they have only six per cent of the total students’ population while the public institutions have 94 per cent.
He said since the number of private and public universities in the country was about the same, “there was justification for the funding of only public institutions because of the overwhelming students’ population”.
“I have said before that public institutions have 94 per cent students while private is less than six per cent. So there is justification in our law that we are not funding private institutions.
“We are funding public institutions because that is where the majority of the students are and particularly, the children of the less privileged,” he said.
‘Centres of excellence’
The official said that TETFund would establish Centres of Excellence across public universities from 2020 to boost researches and development.
“From 2020, the Fund will begin TETFUND Centres of Excellence. As of today, up to six African countries have come to study the model. At the end, if there are weaknesses noticed in the process, let us be informed about them and we are ready to take correction,” he said.