President Bola Tinubu has cancelled the controversial deduction of 40 per cent of Internally Generated Revenues from federal universities across the country.
The President who was represented by the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, spoke on Friday at the 75th Founder’s Day ceremony of the University of Ibadan and described the policy implementation as “ill-timed”.
He also maintained that it was not the best time for such a policy since our universities are struggling.
In his speech as a Visitor to the university, Tinubu pledged his commitment to the reform of the nation’s education sector as the bedrock for national development.
He said, “The 40 per cent IGR automatic deduction policy stands cancelled. This is not the best time for such a policy since our universities are struggling.”
The Federal Government, in a letter dated October 17, 2023, titled ‘Implementation of 40% automatic deduction from internally generated revenue of partially funded federal government institutions,’ said it would begin the deduction with effect from November 2023.
The letter signed by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mrs Oluwatoyin Madein, Director of Revenue and Investment, Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Felix Ore-ofe Ogundairo, said the auto-deduction policy of gross IGR was in line with the Finance Circular with reference number FMFBNP/OTHERS/IGR/CRF/12/2021 dated December 20, 2021.
Reacting, the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities has written a protest letter to the Federal Government, demanding that the government rescind the plan to deduct 40 per cent of the Internally Generated Revenues of federal universities.
The Secretary-General Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, who disclosed this to our correspondent in a phone interview at the weekend, said the government could not be demanding 40 per cent of varsities IGR when it had refused to grant them autonomy.
Ochefu, speaking with our correspondent, said should the Federal Government spurn the plea by the VCs and go ahead with the policy, parents would bear the consequences.
Ochefu explained that the Finance Act 2020 specified that 40 per cent could only be sent to the FG if there was a surplus, saying in the case of universities, there was no surplus but a lack of funding because universities only get user charges from students and not profits or revenues.
He said, “If you look at the Act, it didn’t say 40% IGR, but a surplus. So, who determines what is surplus? The Finance Act of 2020 is explanatory, and it is the institution that is supposed to decide and send you the surplus if there is any.
But FG says it now wants to deduct it from the source. We have protested and written to the Ministry of Education. If they insist, it means they want to ground the universities to a halt. Or we will be forced to add the 40 per cent to what we are charging the end users and these end users are complaining already. We told the Ministry of Education to write the Ministry of Finance to halt the development. The letter was written on Thursday.”
Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities also kicked against the requirement that the public tertiary institutions remit 40 per cent of IGR to FG.
Following its National Executive Meeting, ASUU, in a statement signed by its president, Emmanuel Osodeke, said the decision would impoverish the already public universities.