TETFund Board of Trustees (BOT) chairman, Kashim Ibrahim Imam says a total of 226 tertiary institutions in country are currently benefitting from the various Tetfund interventions.
Imam said this in Ilorin on Thursday in an address delivered at the Tetfund/FIRS 2020 Joint Interactive Forum.
The theme of the interactive forum is; “New thrust in sustaining the EDT Collection during the COVID-19 pandemic for effective service delivery of the mandate of the Fund.”
The BOT chairman said the benefitting tertiary institutions cut across federal universities, federal polytechnics and federal and state Colleges of Education.
Imam said TETFund has targeted N500 billion as revenue from the FIRS for 2020.
According to him, out of the N300 billion targeted for 2020, TETFund has realised N270 billion by Oct of the year.
Imam, however expressed the hope that by the end of December, the total amount of N300 billion would be realised.
“As you are aware, the synergy between the FIRS and TETFund, is vital to the transformation that is evident in our public Tertiary Institutions nationwide.
“This was achieved as a result of joint delivery of complementary services by providing amiable and lasting solutions to our beneficiaries.
“In addition, the successful strategic partnership over the years can be attributed to the strong, relentless commitment and cooperation by leadership of both organisations and our zeal to improve Nigerian education nationwide.
“Globally, the world is currently facing COVID-19 pandemic, which has adversely affected the world economy, of which Nigeria is not exempted,” he said.
According to Imam, there was the need for stronger and decisive measures, to ameliorate the effect of the present day reality, and sustain Education Tax collection for the Fund’s continuous intervention in the nation’s institutions.
“Over the years, we have been bedeviled with the challenge of meeting the target of EDT collection, and giving the present state of the economy, and the realities of the pandemic, we will most likely face same.
“But with deliberate and concerted efforts, we can achieve them. Giving the realities of our time, there is need for improved efforts to cushion the effects of the likely downturn on EDT collection.
“However, it is crucial, now more than ever, to sustain the status quo of mutual understanding and collaboration to ensure that our goals and objectives are achieved.
“As a saying goes, “COVID-19 is the new normal”, however, we must rise above the challenges of our time and sustain the EDT collection,” the BOT chairman added.
TETFund Executive Secretary, Prof Suleiman Elias Bogoro, in his welcome address said the interactive forum has continued to be a yearly platform where TETFund and FIRS engage in strategic discussion on Education Tax.
This, he said was aimed at enhancing collection and strengthening harmonious working relationship.
“The forum also serves as a platform for the Fund to showcase its judicious utilisation of the tax and an opportunity for the Fund to present a spectrum of its projects to stakeholders in attendance.
“Therefore, it is one of the key activities for the actualisation of the Fund’s Mandate.
“In 2013, the Fund recorded an impressive Education Tax collection of N279 billion, since then, FIRS has been striving to achieve the annual EDT targets despite challenges.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected economic activities and is likely to have effect on EDT; as such it has become necessary to increase our drive for EDT Collection.
“Notwithstanding the increasing number of Beneficiary Institutions and the limited resources, available for interventions projects, it is undisputable that the Fund has performed credibly well over the years in transforming tertiary education in Nigeria.
“Therefore, the Fund, more than ever before needs to deepen its collaboration with the FIRS, who are our strategic partners to enhance EDT collection,” Bogoro added.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the upward review of the National Research Fund from N5 billion in 2019 to N7.5 billion in 2020.
“In addition, Mr President also approved the funding and establishment of 12 Centers of Excellence in selected benefitting institutions as well as establishment of six Medical Research Equipment in six Colleges of Medicine nationwide,” he said.
Executive Chairman of FIRS, Mahammad Nami, in a paper presented at the forum said COVID -19 was a unique challenges to FIRS as well as a good opportunity to be innovative and resilient in order to achieve its mandate of making taxation the pivot of national development.
Nami added that collection performance of FIRS for the period of January-October 2020 stood at N4.122 trillion.
This, he said was despite Finance Act 2019 incentives, COVID-19 challenges and palliatives concession.
He added that the sum of N2.790 trillion was collected from non-oil sector during the same period while N1.332 trillion was realised from oil revenue collection performance.
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