Saturday, April 02, 2022

Bullion Lecture2022: Give us Higher Education Development Bank says Prof. Nnadozie - ITREALMS

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Given the avalanche of problem facing the tertiary education in Nigeria, a call has gone out for the establishment of a Higher Education Development Bank, and urging extension of 2 per cent education tax on political office holders and elected officials, reports ITREALMS.

Making this call at the 2022 Bullion Lecture organized by the Centre for Financial Journalism at the weekend, the guest lecturer, Executive Secretary, African Capacity Building Foundation, a specialized agency of the African Union based in Harare, Zimbabwe, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie who dwelt on ‘Funding Tertiary Education in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities, said that establishing a higher education development bank is a vital option.

The time, he said at the Civic Centre venue of the lecture, has come for the consideration of setting up this higher education development bank, through the public-private-partnership (PPP).

The modality among other things, he said, would include providing loans to students at concessionary rates to cover tuition fees and other related costs.

The proposed bank, Prof. Nnadozie said can also provide loans to academic staff to attend professional conferences and workshops abroad; cover sabbatical leave costs and book publishing costs.

Equally worried by the prevailing high interest rate in Nigeria, Prof. Nnadozie suggested that the bank should be structured as the special purpose vehicle for delivering eh various students loans similar to what obtains in the United States of America (USA) at determined interest rates.

Prof. Nnadozie, however, warned that efforts must be made to avoid the mistakes of the defunct Nigerian Education Bank (EDUBank) established in 1993 after the Nigerian Students Loans Board was dissolved after its failure to recover loans.

Another option, Prof. Nnadozie said, is to deepen the base of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, stressing that the current fund has proved very helpful in funding and particularly by addressing the infrastructure deficits in the tertiary education system.

He pointed out that the fund currently operates on a 2 per cent tax on the assessable profits of all companies in the country, but canvassed that the tax should be extended to the political office holders.

“So, henceforth, political office holders should pay 2 per cent of their remunerations as tax for tertiary education sector development,” he advised.

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Prof. Nnadozie emphasised that the 2 per cent tax on political leaders’ remuneration would get them more interested in the management and happenings in the education sector.

He later presented a copy of his book to the chief host, Mr. Ray Echebiri.

Remmy Nweke/DoP

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