CBN to begin disbursement of N30b Revitalisation Fund to varsities

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The Federal Government has announced that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will begin the disbursement of the N30 billion Revitalisation Fund promised by it from next week.

 However, Dr Chris Ngige, the Labour and Employment Minister, who announced this in Abuja said each university must present an audit report on how it utilised previous disbursements before it can get a drawdown from the funds which was deposited with the CBN in January.

Ngige explained that the fund has not immediately been disbursed because the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission (NUC) committee needed to evaluate the audit reports of the universities.

Charles Akpan, the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, in a statement, said the issue of the Revitalisation Fund was a major issue at the critical meeting between the officials of the ministry and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) with both parties expressing satisfaction with the implementation stages of what Ngige called “work in progress”.

At the meeting, Ngige stated that some of the items in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) were nearly done hundred per cent within the timeline.

He added that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has been directed to expedite action on the integrity test on the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) which, if successful, would eliminate the challenges posed by the peculiarities of the university system to the current payment platform.

“The report has been turned in, deliberated upon and the Education Ministry and the NUC have promised to write to the Accountant General of the Federation next week for the release of the money to the NEEDS Special Account for onward disbursement to universities shortly,” Ngige said.

He explained that apart from the N40 billion Earned Allowance, which the Federal Government has already paid, the Budget Office had shown evidence that N22 billion Earned Allowances for 2021 was already captured in the 2021 supplementary budget.

The Revitalisation Fund is one of the seven key issues evaluated yesterday at a Federal Government’s meeting with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

ASUU President Emmanuel  Osodeke expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting and promised that the union would reach out to its members.

Those at yesterday’s meeting were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Peter Tarfa and the immediate Executive Secretary of NUC, Prof. Rasheed Abubakar.

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