UBEC Mulls Reduction Of Matching Grants For States | Independent Newspapers Limited
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UBEC Mulls Reduction Of Matching Grants For States

Posted: Aug 18, 2016 at 6:45 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Innocent Oweh

Abuja – The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) has hinted on plans to pursue a new policy that could cut down on the percentage of counterpart funds paid by states to access its intervention funds.

But Independent gathered that the move may not be unconnected with the economic recession in the country, where several states in the federation find it difficult to pay workers’ salaries and ignore provision of counterpart funds that should enable them access UBEC’s grants.

Executive Secretary of UBEC, Hamid Bobboyi, gave this indication in Abuja on Wednesday, while addressing newsmen on the sideline of an interactive session with state chairmen of Universal Basic Education Boards (SUBEBs).

The reduction of the matching grant may eventually involve an amendment to the UBEC Act.

Bobboyi noted that before his appointment as the executive secretary of UBEC, a lot was done by the Ministry of Education and relevant agencies to ensure that the states access their backlog of funds stashed in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) owing to their inability to pay the mandatory counterpart funds.

“I think we should understand that the major reason of instituting the matching grant in the UBE Act is to ensure that we build sufficient resources for the basic education sub-sector, where the Federal Government will bring whatever it brings, and the state governments will also match those funds.

“But unfortunately, even before the economic crisis, there are some states that have not taken basic education very seriously.

“The idea is to push and ensure that people understand the initial impact of having the matching grants then subsequently also to see what could be done in terms of policy changes which will come from government because it involves a change in UBEC Act that will facilitate the percentage of matching grant to enable a large number of states which may be in some difficulties at the moment to access the funds,” he said.

It would be recalled that earlier in the year, the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, said a new rate of about 10 percent matching grant for state governments was discussed at a National Economic Council retreat in Abuja.

Adeosun noted that counterpart funding was worsening the debt profile of state governments, adding that the reduction will enable them to access an estimated N58 billion which could not be accessed as a result of non-remittance of their matching grants.

Bobboyi also plans to deal with issues of teacher development to sustain quality in basic schools across the country, as well as the out-of-school children and accountability in the deployment of resources.

The UBEC boss noted that monitoring in the sector would be improved to ensure that funds from UBEC are utilised in a transparent and accountable manner to realise the core mandate of the organisation.