Benue State University Receives N7b From TETFund In 23 years

Benue State University Receives N7b From TETFund In 23 years
The Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the Benue State University (BSU), Makurdi Sebastine Hon (SAN) has said the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has spent about N7 billion on various intervention projects in the university from 1999 to date.

He stated this yesterday in Abuja when he led the management of the institution on a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono.

Hon, who congratulated Echono on his appointment as TETFund boss, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his choice, even as he described the Executive Secretary as “one of our illustrious alumni, having graduated with a degree in MBA in  Management from our university.”

While expressing delight over the various TETFund projects that now dotted the university’s campus, the Pro-Chancellor appealed for the speedy completion of other ongoing projects.

He said: “We are here to also acknowledge and express the profound appreciation of the Visitor, the Council, Management, members of staff and students for the support in terms of content-based interventions and infrastructure BSU has benefitted from TETFund from 1999 till now.

“Our campus is dominated by TETFund-sponsored legacy structures, including the central library, laboratories, lecture theatres, faculty buildings, student social centre, and entrepreneurship development centre, not excluding research (IBR, NRF, ARJ, AMB), academic training and conferences (foreign and local), post-doctoral, bench work and developments in ICT.

“In all, the university has received about N7 billion in intervention from TETFund between 1999 and now.

“For want of time, we would have provided the statistics to enable the Executive Secretary to understand our excitement and appreciation to TETFund in this regard.

“We have some TETFund-supported projects that are ongoing now. Whereas some of the contractors have shown commitment, some have been poor.

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“It is important to mention that the COVID-19 lockdown affected the speed and cost as it were. The projects include the construction and furnishing of the Faculty of Education building -85 per cent; construction and furnishing of the Research Development and Innovation Centre – 90 per cent; construction and furnishing of the Academic Office building-80 per cent; construction and furnishing of a block of offices for the College of Health Sciences-90 per cent; construction and furnishing of Faculty of Science building-45 per cent.”

The Pro-Chancellor called for a waiver to access the 2021/2022 TETFund’s allocations to enable the university to address its challenges as well as a special intervention on the institution’s library that was recently touched by a heavy storm.

“We have a very small campus, and we desire to expand in terms of content-base and infrastructure. Our university has commenced appreciable steps with the National Universities Commission (NUC) to commence the following programmes: Architecture, Pharmacy, Engineering, and Building Engineering.

“Therefore, and further to the level of completion of the above-listed projects, we hereby appeal to you to grant us a waiver to allow the university to access the 2021 and 2022 annual allocations to enable us to proceed with the projects tied to those allocations.

“We wish to also report that our central library suffered severe damage caused by a recent storm. This has left the building and property therein exposed to the elements. We desire to submit a request for disaster intervention.”

The TETFund boss, who commended BSU for its massive contribution toward the production of relevant manpower in the country, said the university is one first to be established in the entire Northern part of Nigeria by the state government.

On the appeal for completion of all ongoing projects in the university, Echono said: “I have earlier given the directive that as a matter of policy, we have undertaken a comprehensive review of all of our outstanding projects with a view to bringing those that are close to completion, speedy completion through the various strategies we have identified.

“I am also pleased to inform you that we have secured the concurrence of the Minister of Education that, from next year, we will have a special provision in our allocations for the completion of all ongoing projects…..”

Echono said the special provision, which was hitherto captured in the Fund’s allocation to beneficiary institutions, will address the issue of delay in projects’ completion, even as he blamed the slow pace of work in some projects on the variable cost of materials and time.

“We have projects that commenced but because of fluctuations in prices of important building materials, because of the delay associated with the COVID-19 lockdown and other disruptions to other economic activities, we now have time and cost overhead and the earlier we address this, the better for our country as we will not have abandoned projects littering around our campuses,” Echono said.

The Executive Secretary, who said TETFund has a very high rate of completion of projects, promised that the agency would also look into the request for special intervention on the BSU library that was affected by the storm through its stability fund.

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Source: The Nation


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