FG to pay N71bn outstanding counterpart fund to UBEC – Official

FG to pay N71bn outstanding counterpart fund to UBEC – Official
United Bank for Africa

The Executive Secretary, Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), Dr Hamid Bobboyi, has said that the Federal Government would pay N71.29 billion directly to the commission being the outstanding counterpart funds.

Bobboyi made this disclosure in an interview with our reporter on Friday in Abuja.

According to him, the Federal Government will deduct the entire outstanding counterpart fund against all states of the federation from their Paris Club Refund.

He explained that the Federal Government would provide just the matching grants, while the state governments would provide the counterpart fund to be able to access the funds provided by the Federal Government.

“There is a new development and the Federal Government has given us a schedule of these states.

“ The total amount the Federal Government is going to pay and remit directly to the commission is N71, 292, 316, 087.84.

“So, UBEC in disbursing the funds will put the counterpart funds along with the matching grants and disburse to states if they meet the conditions.

“So, the issue of funds not accessed in UBEC will soon come to an end at least for 2018, which is a good thing.’’

Bobboyi, however, said a lot of progress had been made by states in accessing their matching grants from UBEC, adding that previously there would be stacks of money in the commission waiting to be accessed.

According to him, in the last few years, states had made a lot of efforts to ensure they paid their counterpart funding in order to access the matching grants provided by the Federal Government.

“For example, we are in 2018; the funds have not finished accruing to the account; so it will take up to December 31 when you will have the entire amount.

“By the time we are in December, you will be sitting on half of the allocation of the year not accessed because the matching grant is 50 per cent.

“By the time you add it to some of the money not accessed for other years, the figure balloons.

“Majority of the states will want the money to be completed in order to be able to access the entire amount; so they have to wait till 2019 to start accessing fund for 2018.

This is a cyclical phenomenon and it happens every year,’’ he said.

The executive secretary said as at Oct.15, in the North West zone, majority of the states had accessed the entire amount till 2017.

These states, he noted, were Kano, Jigawa, Kebbi and Sokoto while Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna states had accessed the funds up to 2016.

He said also that the North East Zone such as Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Taraba states had accessed the money up to 2017 while Yobe and Bauchi had accessed to 2016.

Bobboyi said the South West Zone had recorded phenomenal progress except Ekiti state that had a bit of 2015 funds yet to be accessed as well as 2016 and 2017.

“Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states have accessed up to the first quarter of 2018, while Osun state had accessed till 2017 and Ondo state which accessed last in 2013, was able to pay its counterpart funds and access from 2014 to 2016.

“So the picture is not as bleak as sometimes we painted it,” Bobboyi said.

He, however, said the major challenge was from the South-East states, where a state like Abia had not accessed the fund from 2015; and had N4.187 billion as fund not accessed.

“Enugu state still has up to N271 million in 2014 and has 2015 to 2017 fund not accessed.

“While Anambra state is doing very well, it had accessed up to 2016 and is trying to access up to 2017; Ebonyi had accessed up to 2015 while Imo had accessed the funds till 2017.”

The executive secretary told NAN that majority of states had made efforts to access their funds just a few states that were still lagging behind.

He, however said he believed by the end of the year most states would have cleared their 2017 un-accessed funds without any problems.