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DESPITE complaints of paucity of funds to manage the nation’s education sector, a whopping N86billion matching grant provided by the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) is lying unaccessed in the coffer of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), The ICIR can authoritatively report.
According to the Universal Basic Education Act 2004, the Federal Government’s intervention shall provide assistance to the States and Local Governments in Nigeria for the purposes of uniform and qualitative basic education throughout Nigeria.
The state governments in return are expected to provide a counterpart fund of what the Federal Government provides each year.
However, between 2005 and 2018, many state governments still have different amount of unaccessed matching grants.
According to data made available by the Commission on its official website, only 14 states out of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) provided their counterpart fund to access the matching grant in 2017.
The states are Borno, Cross River, Delta, Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi and Kogi. Others are Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Lagos, Sokoto, Taraba and FCT.
This information was as of September 2018.
The total grant for the year 2017 was over N47 billion while unaccessed balance stood at nearly N30 billion. Each state and the FCT were entitled to N 1,286,343,183.55 that year.
In 2018, the matching grant for each state and FCT was N982, 555,230.13. However, no state accessed the fund as of September 11, 2018, leaving N 36,354,543,514.81.
Between 2005 and 2018, the Federal Government has released the sum of N 428,711,342,750.15 as matching grants or intervention fund for state government. Within those periods, each state was expected to have received N11, 551,320,074.63 as intervention funds from the Federal Government.
Sixteen states did not access their combined 2015/2016 matching grant, leaving a balance of N18, 803,186,787.17 in the government’s treasury.
The Universal Basic Education (UBE) Programme was introduced in 1999 by the Federal Government of Nigeria as a reform programme aimed at providing greater access to, and ensuring quality of basic education throughout Nigeria.
Part of its aims is to reduce school drop-out, out-of-school children and improving relevance, quality and efficiency. Currently there are more than 10.5million out-of-school children in Nigeria.
But the inability of the state governments to provide counterpart fund has marred the implementation of the programme.