By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA-Supporting beneficiary institutions with funding for physical infrastructure for teaching and learning, is one of the core mandates of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund(TETFund). In ensuring that these projects meet the required standard, the Fund, has said that it is determined to address every infractions in any beneficiary institutions related to any of its projects.
In 2018 alone, the Fund granted approval-in-principle for the commencement of 226 new projects in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education, of which it has disbursed 329 first tranches, 112 second tranches and 189 final tranches of projects across its beneficiary institutions landscape.
Our findings revealed, that in 2018, a total of 189 physical infrastructure projects were completed in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education while 112 are at various levels of completion.
Also, the Fund, ensures prompt utilization of completed physical infrastructure by institutions, through monitoring visits, to ensure that such projects executed in 2018 included all the essential components (building, equipment, furniture & landscaping/external works) while supplies of heavy or sophisticated equipment included installation, training and commissioning thus delivering fully functional facilities.
The TETFund Executive Secretary, Abdullahi Baffa, recently told Journalists, that the Fund, has inspected and monitored 361 project sites across the country. 301 projects were found satisfactory and disbursements for their subsequent tranches were effected, while 60 projects were queried as a result of some infractions and the institutions were directed to address the infractions before such projects are cleared to subsequent disbursement.
In a bid to maintain and achieve standard,the Fund in August 2018 visited the University of Ibadan, where it noticed and frowned at some infractions on the projects in the school’s Faculty of science auditorium, the Food Science laboratory and Virology Department complex; and the Executive Secretary, directed the management of the University of Ibadan, to recall the contractors to site and ensure that the projects were completed according to specification.
Speaking at that visit, Baffa said, “To call a spade with no other name, the contractors handling these projects at University of Ibadan are not performing up to our expectation and I have already drawn the attention of the management of University of Ibadan to try and complete these projects, especially the Faculty of Science Auditorium, the Food Science Technology Laboratories and the Virology Department Complex.
“These are part of the 42 projects that TETFund is financing at the University of Ibadan from 2008 to 2014, costing about N6.5billion. we have commissioned Six out of these 42 Projects today, and out of these six, three of them are not really the way we want to see them and we have already taken steps to correct that, our technical people from the Fund will return to University of Ibadan to follow up on the completion of these projects.
“The University Management I am sure, will also take the necessary steps to ensure the contractors are called back to site to do what is needful, to ensure that the agreement they have signed with the University as far as the quality and the deliverable of the projects are met, before we will be able to accept these projects as completed projects” he added.
Baffa, while responding to questions from The Sight News on the present state of these projects, clearly noted, that the evaluations carried out by the Fund’s monitoring team, does not tell a good story.
“When we visited University of Ibadan, we were not happy with what we saw and we expressed our displeasures there and then, and we had made commitment to send a special monitoring team to visit and they have visited UI to evaluate those projects” he said.
“The report is almost ready but the story is not a very good story. Believe me, we are determined to address every infractions in any beneficiary institutions related to any of our projects”, Baffa emphasized.
In 2018, 37 institutions applied for reprioritization and/or unbundling of their projects. All but one were cleared and granted the permission to reprioritize or unbundle. With this, the Executive Secretary disclosed, that it has helped in no small way in addressing some of the challenges militating against completing old projects in the affected institutions.
Aside funding to provide essential physical infrastructure for teaching and learning, the Fund focuses its interventions in Public Tertiary Education institutions on key areas specified by the TETFund establishment Act 2011 such as; Funding to provide instructional materials and equipment; funding to support research and publication; funding to support Academic Staff Training and Development; and funding to support the improvement of quality and maintenance of standards in critical and essential areas of need in Beneficiary institutions.
In order to continue to maintain standard, continuation of such monitoring visits to its projects in beneficiary institutions is highly recommended-to ensure high quality projects that will stand the test of time and as well improve the education system.