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States fail to access N46bn UBEC fund

By on April 19, 2017

Thirty-six states and the Federal Capital Territory are yet to access the N46.2 billion Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) matching grants for 2017 because of their inability to show evidence of proper utilization of the grants disbursed to them earlier, Daily Trust investigation have shown.

Official documents analysed by this newspaper shows that N46.2 billion was allocated to the states and the FCT as UBEC grant this year, with each of them entitle to N1.25 billion.

Between 2005 to 2016, N344.8 billion was released as matching grant to states, but only N282 billion was accessed by them within the period.

Matching grant is a fund contributed by both the federal and state governments on equal basis.  It is currently 50 percent of the two percent Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).

State wishing to access the federal government’s UBE Intervention fund must, among other things, show evidence of the proper utilization of previously disbursed UBE funds, and replicate the UBE act at the state level.

Other conditions include the setting up of a state universal basic education board, provide matching grants to federal government’s intervention funds, draw up state UBE action plans and establish adequate mechanisms for programme implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

The UBEC funds projects are usually executed a year behind, for instance, the 2017 funds are projects to be marked 2016, Daily Trust learnt.

The UBEC figures

Analysis of the data shows that in 2005/06, N38.35bn was allocated to the states; N55.51bn (2007/08), N42.69bn (2009/10), N63.84bn (2011/12), N73.37bn (2013/14), N32.44bn (2015), and N38.55bn (2016).

All the 36 states and the FCT accessed their grants between 2005 and 2012, according to the document.  In 2013/14, only Abia, Ebonyi and Ondo failed to access the grant.

But 15 states failed to access the funds in 2015. They are: Abia, Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Kogi, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, and Plateau.

Last year, the official data indicated that only three states accessed their grants. They are Borno and Rivers (N1.04billion each), while Nasarawa only accessed N607.85 million out of its statutory N1.04 billion.

On special education, the document indicated that from 2005-2016, the commission released N12bn of which N10bn was accessed by the beneficiaries.

On teacher professional development, the data shows that from 2009-2016, UBEC released over N50b grants to the states and FCT, but only N40bn was accessed.

The UBEC’s head of public relation unit, Mr Ossom Ossom said state governments couldn’t access the intervention funds because they failed to meet up with the stipulated conditions.

He said the 1999 constitution and the relevant section of UBE Act 2004 mandates state governments to provide primary and secondary education to all citizens.

Ossom however said the constitution also empowers the federal government to intervene and offer support to states in critical areas of UBE implementation.

To this effect, he said the federal government collaborates with states and local government authorities in implementing the UBE programme.

State reactions

The Executive Secretary of Katsina State Basic Educatiopn Board, Lawal Buhari Daura, said the state is processing the release of N1.42 billion as matching grant to enable it access the 2017 UBEC funds.

Daura explained that the state has fully accessed that of last year 2016 which projects are marked as 2015.

Edo State has not been able to access the 2017 fund because of lack of funds, the acting chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) Suleman Ali, said.

“When former Governor Comrade Adams Oshiomhole came to government, we met lots of grant that were not accessed, so we look for money and pay our matching grant, and we were able to access the fund up to 2015,” he said.

Imo State Commissioner for Information Engr. Obinna Nshirim said it is not yet late for the assessment of the funds since the year has just started and has not ended.

The commissioner said that before Governor Rochas Okorocha came to power there were backlog of unassessed counterpart funds amounting to N3 billion, adding that since he came on board he has cleared it.

Kogi State Commissioner for Education, Dr Tolorunleke Sunday said the State Executive Council has just given approval for the release of counterpart funds required to access the UBEC fund.

The Chairman of Benue State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr Philip Tachin, has said that the state government is working assiduously to access the 2017 UBEC fund.

Tachin said that though, the allocation for 2017 matching grant was still on paper as budget that has not been passed, the state government has not forgotten about the UBEC fund for 2016.

Plateau State like many other States has not accessed its own share of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), fund for the last three years due to its inability to pay the 50 percent counterpart funding.

The Executive Chairman of Plateau State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Prof. Mathew Sule told Daily Trust on phone that the state was committed to the cause of basic education but confirmed that it was yet to access the UBE funds for 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Nasarawa state has recently access its UBEC matching grants for 2016, the state executive secretary of SUBEB, Yakubu Ahmed Ubangari, said.

He said Governor Tanko Al-Makura had recently paid N4.3 billion to Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) as its counterpart fund for six years.

[Daily Trust]