Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions/ TETFund Pays Oversight Visit to NUC Sep 10, 2022 | news The Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) last Wednesday, 31st August, 2022, paid an oversight visit to the National Universities Commission (NUC) to appraise the 2021 budget performance of the Commission vis-à-vis the Appropriation received in the preceding year. Welcoming the committee members on behalf of the 219 universities in the country and the Executive Secretary, NUC, Prof. Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, mni, MFR, FNAL, the Deputy Executive Secretary (DES), Mr. Chris Jibreel Maiyaki, apologised for the inability of Prof. Rasheed to receive them in person, noting that he had been their strategic partner in the development of university education. He said, the NUC hoped to continue to enjoy the support of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund with the goodwill the Executive Secretary had established among the members in the years ahead.Responding to the enquiry on the industrial dispute, the Deputy Executive Secretary explained that in retrospect, the strike had received series of concern from stakeholders and had remained one recurring decimal impinging on the reputation of the pride which the NUS used to enjoy in the past.He clarified that NUC was not in charge of the negotiations either in the past or in the present as its perfunctory role is to provide the Secretariat for the purpose of only documentation of agreements.He said the main nitty-gritty of the negotiations are within the purview of the FGN Negotiation Team, which had other relevant Ministries like those of Labour and Employment, Finance and Education as well as the National Income, Salaries and Wages Commission and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF).The NUC, he said, could only transmit its concern to the contending issues without any clear cut response on the position as everything about the strike of the University-based union rested on the FGN/ ASUU Negotiating Team.On the 2021 budget performance, the NUC Director, Finance and Accounts (DFA), Mr. Sam Onazi disclosed that the details of the outlay had been sent to the members and highlighted that with respect to Personnel Cost, a total of N1.76bn was appropriated and the warrant figure released the same, which indicated that what was provided by government was fully exhausted by the Commission.On Overhead Costs, he mentioned that the appropriation was N778million, while the equivalent amount was released showing 100 per cent was accessed.The DFA had also informed the team that the NUC generated some Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and expended 25 per cent of same while remitting 75 per cent to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). He said the expenditure was based on a circular from the Ministry of Finance and the OAGF. On the submissions, the NUC similarly highlighted that its major activities within the year included major curriculum review, assessment of universities on e-Learning equipment, strengthening of quality assurance mechanism as well as fortifying modern methods of data processing and retrieval.The Deputy Executive Secretary equally mentioned that a high-powered Committee on Degree mills had been working to tackle the menace of illegal universities and fake degrees in conjunction with the Nigeria Police, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Security (DSS).Earlier, in his remarks, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Baba Ahmed Kaita informed the NUC team that they came for two purposes- to review the budget performance in relation to the receivables, while also concerned about the inability of the striking university teachers to call off their strike and what NUC was doing to ensure that the strike ends so that students can go back to school. On the budget issue, Senator Kaita said upon the passage of 2022 Appropriations Act, the Committee needed to do the needful by carrying out its constitutionally empowered oversight functions to the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) and other related agencies under its jurisdiction to find out their level of performances.Thus, they had been on the oversight visit while they were now in the NUC to discover if the Commission had achieved harmony with the budgetary allocations given to it.After receiving the summary of the budget performance, Sen. Kaita said they were not privy to the submission and would not be in a position to make any detailed inquest on the presentation. He said they would do so after due diligence on the received submission had been carried out by the Committee members. Commenting on the impending strike, the Senate Committee Chairman stated that the Nigerian University System (NUS) had been going through challenging season, while he implored the NUC to use its good offices to ensure that the strike was mitigated and the universities reopened for academic activities.According to him, stakeholders cannot afford to pay lip service to the issue as students and parents are currently agonising over the strike action which had gone over six months, stressing that once the universities are not on stream, the nation’s huge chunk of human capital development class are jeopardised. However, in his remarks, the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Sandy Onor queried the reason NUC had to spend 25 per cent of its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and remitting the balance of 75 per cent to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), stating clearly that the action was unconstitutional.Others at the oversight visit were Senators Henry Serieka Dickson; Ezenwa Onyewuchi; Hezekiah Dimka; Hauwa Auta and Chukwuka Utazi.At the ceremony were the NUC Directors of Human Resource (DHR), Mr. Boniface Chukwubechukwu Odum; Open Distance and e-Leraning (DODel), Engr. Kayode Odedina; Students (DoS), Mr. Sunday Bassey Essien; Executive Secretary’s Office (DESO), Mr. John Mairafi Ahmadu; Acting Directors of Inspection and Monitoring (DIM), Mrs. Lydia Imorua; Skills Development and Entrepreneurship (DSDE), Mal. Ashafa Ladan and Public Affairs (DPA), Mal. Haruna Lawal Ajo. In attendance were the Deputy Directors of Information in DPA, Mrs. Offiong Edor and Treasury in DFA, Mrs. Hauwa Amos.