By Maryam Abeeb
Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), says qualitative higher education is necessary for national development.
Bogoro made the assertion on Wednesday in Lagos at the 2020 joint TETFund and Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) interactive forum with administrators, contributors and tertiary institutions in the South-West zone.
The theme of the interactive forum was: “New Thrust in Sustaining the EDT Collection During the COVID-19 Pandemic for Effective Service Delivery of the Mandate of the Fund.”
Bogoro said that education played a key role in the ability of a developing country to absorb modern technology and the capacity for self-sustaining growth and development.
“It was in order to raise the quality of higher education in Nigeria that the TETFund was established.
“The task of nation building has never been an easy one; it requires the building of human capital, needed skills and requisite knowledge for all citizens.
“It is only through the provision of sound education that such knowledge and skill can be acquired,” he said.
Bogoro added that the interactive forum had continued to be one of the fund’s annual platforms for strategic discussions and engagement with FIRS on education tax.
“The forum is aimed at enhancing Education Tax Collections (EDT) and strengthening our harmonious working relationship.
“It also serves as a platform for the fund to showcase its judicious utilisation of the two per cent education tax collected, and an opportunity for the fund to present spectrum of its projects.
“The fund has been receiving education tax since 1999 to date from the FIRS.
“The year 2020 has witnessed a dramatic change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bogoro said.
He said that in spite of the increasing numbers of beneficiary institutions and limited resources (funds) available for interventions, the funds had transformed tertiary education in Nigeria.
“This year theme was deliberate; it is a wake-up call for all of us to improve and discharge our individual and collective responsibilities in ensuring the efficient and timely collection of EDT.
“I commend the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari for supporting the course of the fund in changing the narratives and laying emphasis on research and innovation.
“Following the recommendation of the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, the president approved the upward review of the National Research Fund from five billion naira in 2019 to N7.5 billion in 2020.
“The fund is striving to change the narratives by taking practical steps to put the nation on a revolutionary path of a knowledge-based economy,” Bogoro said.