The 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, have not accessed over N84bn earmarked by the Universal Basic Education Commission for primary education since 2015, according to findings by SUNDAY PUNCH.
The funds are lying fallow despite the growing number of out-of-school children in the country, presently put at 10.3 million kids.
The N84bn is obtained from a document showing state-by-state matching grants not accessed. The document is the most recent paper prepared by UBEC in September 2018.
SUNDAY PUNCH learnt that no allocation to states had been made yet for 2019 as the budget was signed last week by President Muhammadu Buhari, after the bill spent about six months at the National Assembly.
The breakdown of the UBEC funds lying fallow shows that for 2015 and 2016, states are yet to access N18,803,166,787.17, while for 2017, the states are yet to access N29,585,893,221.65.
For 2018, states are yet to access N36,354,543,514.81 from UBEC.
According to another UBEC document, the Federal Government set aside N154bn between 2015 and 2018 for the 36 states and the FCT for primary education.
The document shows that for 2015 and 2016, the government set aside N70,995,000,000.12 for the states, while in 2017, the allocation was N47,594,697,791.35. In 2018, the UBEC fund was put at N36,354,543,514.8.
According to another statistics, ‘Disbursement of Matching Grants to States and the FCT’, released by UBEC in September 2018, 30 states and the FCT were able to access the 2015-2016 disbursements. They got N52,919,813,212 for basic education. The states are Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, Zamfara and the FCT.
Most of the states got N1,916,756,756 for the 2015 and 2016 allocations, while the least allocation was N816m allocated to Ekiti State.
The states yet to access the 2015-2016 disbursements are Ogun, Plateau, Kwara, Enugu, Abia and Bayelsa.
For the 2017 grants, 23 states did not access the UBEC fund. They are Abia, Adamawa, Akwa-Ibom, Anambra, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Ebonyi, Enugu, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Ondo, Sokoto, Plateau, Yobe and Zamfara. The funds not accessed were put at N29,585,893,221.65.
Only 13 states and the FCT were able to access the allocation for basic education. They got N18,008,804,569. They are Borno, Cross River, Delta, Gombe, Jigawa, Kebbi, Kogi, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Rivers, Sokoto, Taraba and the FCT.
For the 2018 allocations, no state has accessed the fund, going by the UBEC document.
A top official of UBEC, who spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said a major reason why the states had not been able to access the fund was their failure to provide the counterpart funding of 50 per cent.
He noted that some states were also unable to show evidence of proper utilisation of the UBEC fund for the previous years.
He said, “As of October 2018, the Federal Government had deducted from source all outstanding counterpart funds for the states, which the commission has not given their matching grants.
“But despite the deduction from source, UBEC will not just give any state funds except there is an action plan which is tied or linked to the money and the state also provides evidence of proper utilisation of earlier funds.”
The UBEC Executive Secretary, Dr Hamid Bobboyi, had, last December, said the Federal Government released N71.3bn from the Paris Club refund meant for states to the commission to settle their counterpart funding.
Ogun mismanaged previous grants
It was that on Saturday that the investigative team of UBEC had indicted the Ogun State Government after the inspection of some of the primary schools it reportedly built and rehabilitated with the previous grants in the Abeokuta North Local Government Area.
A source in the SUBEB office in Abeokuta told SUNDAY PUNCH that the UBEC team described some of the schools in the local government area as “the worst managed”, in its report submitted to the state SUBEB after the inspection.
Fayemi, Fayose trade blame over funds
The Ekiti State Commissioner for Education, Foluso Daramola, said the immediate-past administration of Mr Ayodele Fayose did not access the fund throughout its four-year tenure.
Fayose had alleged during his term in office that UBEC blacklisted the state because the Kayode Fayemi administration mismanagement the UBEC fund during his first term.
But Daramola debunked Fayose’s claim, saying the latter’s “reckless utterances and primitive approach to governance” were the reasons for UBEC’s sanction.
The commissioner also told SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday that the Fayemi administration had, in January this year, paid the outstanding N3.3bn counterpart fund for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 grants to UBEC.
“Since the Fayemi government came in, we have made a lot of requests and some projects are ongoing now,” he added.
Administrative lapses delay Ondo’s grant
The Ondo State Commissioner for Information, Mr Yemi Olowolabi, blamed “administrative” process in UBEC for the inability of the state to access the fund.
Olowolabi added, “Our inability to access it by now is not our fault; it is as a result of the administrative procedure at the UBEC. But we learnt that the UBEC deliberately delayed the release of the fund to allow the outgoing governors to go.
“We have cleared the three years counterpart funds that we met when we came on board. But we have not accessed the 2017 and 2018 (funds) for reasons that have nothing to do with us, but UBEC.
“The counterpart fund that we are supposed to remit to UBEC has been deducted from our share of the last tranche of the Paris Club refund, which was N2.2bn but there was a shortfall of about N481m which has also been paid to the bank account of UBEC, to complete our counterpart fund.
“Now, we are waiting for UBEC to invite us to sign the MoU and do the final arrangement.”
Kwara accessed UBEC fund last in 2014
The Kwara State Government has not accessed the UBEC fund meant to provide infrastructure, including building and furniture, in its public schools since 2014.
Investigation by SUNDAY PUNCH in the state revealed that the state government had refused to pay its counterpart funds to UBEC since 2015.
Effort to get official information from Kwara state Universal Education Board did not yield result as the Permanent Secretary of the Board was not in the office.
The Press Secretary of the Kwara State Basic Education Board, Mrs Biola Atere, said the board had been dissolved by the former governor, Alhaji Abdulfattah Ahmed, before he handed over to the new administration.
Atere stated that it was only the board’s permanent secretary that could respond to any enquiry on the activities of the board.
But the state governor, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, said at the Kwara State University’s 7th Convocation on Saturday that he would set machinery in motion to access the N5bn outstanding UBEC fund.
In his address, delivered by the state deputy governor, Mr Kayode Alabi, the governor said, “I am also informed that we need to quickly access over N5bn fund at the Universal Basic Education Commission for infrastructural and staff development. All these will be put in motion as soon as the state executive council comes on stream.”
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