The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, set up an Ad-hoc Committee to investigate the alleged abuse of N2.3 trillion generated from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund from 2011 to 2013, and report back within four weeks for further legislative action.
The resolution followed the adoption of a motion on the need to ‘Investigate the Alleged Abuse of N2.3 trillion Generated from Tertiary Education Tax by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund from 2011 to 2013,’ moved by Hon. Olusola Fatoba, Hon. David Fouh, Hon. Zakari Nyanpa during the resumed plenary session.
Fatoba, while presenting the motion, noted that the Tertiary Education Tax was introduced as a special corporate tax to provide specialised funding for tertiary education in Nigeria, including capital projects, research and development, amongst others.
The tax was introduced based on the repealed Education Tax Act, which established the Education Trust Fund to impose Education Tax on Nigerian companies at the rate of 2.5 per cent of the assessable profit for annual assessment.
The lawmaker recalled that in 2011, the Education Tax Act was repealed and Enacted Tertiary Education Trust Fund Establishment Act in 2021, the Finance Act 2021, increased the applicable Tertiary Education Tax rate from two per cent to 2.5 per cent.
“Since the establishment of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund in 2011, the Fund has earned trillions of naira as revenue generated, however, the Fund is reputed for numerous financial abuses in its operations, award of contracts and execution of projects.
“The Standard Operating Procedure within the Fund is porous and does not create a platform for proper supervision of projects domiciled with Tertiary Institutions, with disbursements of funds happening without tracking and payments being made despite the failure of Contractors to achieve milestones required for such payments,” he added.
Fatoba, further alleged that the abuses, actions, inactions and infractions resulted in the misappropriation of the funds to about N2.3 trillion.
“If urgent steps are not taken to investigate the allegations, the decay of the Tertiary Education System will continue to increase, thus, resulting in strike actions, substandard institutions, lack of faith in the system, migration of talented youths and total collapse of the Education System arising from gross abuse of a laudable special intervention Programmes and aspiration of the President to provide opportunities to young people through quality tertiary education,” he added.
Juliet Akoje in Abuja