States Fail To Access 45bn UBEC Grants

The Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr. Hamid Bobboyi, has disclosed that over N45.7 billion matching grant to state governments for the implementation of Universal Basic Education (UBE) between 2020 and 2023 has not been accessed by many states.

Bobboyi stated this on Wednesday when he received members of the House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services who were at the Commission on an oversight visit.

He also disclosed that only 16 states have so far accessed the 2023 matching grant, representing 41 per cent of the appropriated N51.6 billion.

According to him, the sum of N51.6 billion was appropriated by the Federal Government as matching grant to states in 2023, explaining that only N21billion was accessed by the 16 states as at June 30, 2024.

He listed the 16 states to include, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Enugu, Jigawa, Kano, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Osun, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and Zamfara.

“Out of N103.2 billion appropriated amount for 2023, being two per cent of Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), the sum of N55 billion was utilised.

“This is being total expenditure under UBE implementation, matching grant, educational imbalance, special education and monitoring and programmes funds as at June 30, 2024, thus, showing 54 per cent utilisation.

“For the 2023 matching grant disbursement status, the sum of N21 billion was accessed by 16 states out of N51.6 billion appropriated, representing 41 per cent as at June 30,” he said.

He further said one of the challenges confronting the Commission was the inability of some state governments to access UBE matching grant as at when due.

Bobboyi noted that the quest to deliver quality basic education as well as address the challenge of out-of-school children in Nigeria requires all stakeholders, including the National Assembly to join forces together to achieve.

He lamented that some state governments lacked political will and commitment to basic education issues, saying this further exacerbated the menace of out-of-school children in the country.

The chairman, House Committee on Universal Basic Education and Services, Hon. Mark Bako Useni, on his part, described the about 20-year-old UBEC Act, as obsolete and inadequate to address the emerging challenges of basic education in Nigeria, hence the urgent need to amend the law.

Useni who is member representing Takum/Ussa/Donga Federal Constituency of Taraba State, revealed that already, the bill to that effect has passed first and second readings in the House of Representatives, and is now at the committee stage.

He said, “UBEC Act has been in place for nearly 20 years. From the time the law came into force till today, we have passed through several stages of developments; so one cannot hold on to one thing over the years.

“Like the issue of un-accessed funds, if we don’t amend the act, the challenge would continue to be there; but if the act is amended and there are measures to make sure that we overcome un-accessed funds, the primary and secondary education would serve our children better.”

He said the oversight function was necessary to see how basic education has fared in the last one year.

Useni said the committee needs to know the areas of interventions the commission would be required to enhance quality basic education in the country.

“In our drive toward ensuring that every Nigerian child is back to school and able to learn, we have high expectations from UBEC over the years.

“If the Federal Government has not established UBEC, you can only imagine what will become of basic education in the country,” he said.

He added, “The challenge of unavailability of teachers also is beyond what we can achieve at this level. UBEC does not recruit teachers for LEA, it is the responsibility of states and local governments.

“What UBEC does is intervention to check the quality of teachers and make them up-to-date. We are going to engage state actors to make sure that we call attention to these serious problems,” he said.

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