Written by Godfrey AKON

Abia tops list of states with N41b un-accessed UBEC fund

Abia State has been listed atop several states unable to access over N41 billion allocated to them by the Federal Government through the Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, to develop basic education in their domains.
Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, who disclosed this in a statement, said Abia’s share of the N41 billion has been lying dormant for the past four years.
Anwukah however noted that only Borno State was up-to-date in accessing its share of the over N41 billion UBEC funds, out of the 36 state of the federation.
He therefore tasked state governments across the country to, as a matter of urgency, access the funds to develop infrastructure in basic schools in their domains.
Speaking on reasons for the states’ failure to draw the funds, he said the states were either unable to account for previous allocations, pay 50 per cent of their counterpart funding or lacked commitment to the course of basic education.
while ruling out the possibility of altering the ratio of the matching grant in the near future, he noted that he will continue to exert pressure on States to access their fund as and when due in the interest of the Nigerian child.
Anwukah stated that the refusal or inability of states to access their share of the UBEC fund was strangulating the development of basic education nationwide.  
According to him, the absolute necessity for states to access this fund cannot be over emphasized as doing otherwise was depriving the country’s children of conducive learning environment and depriving Nigerians of thousands of employment opportunities that could be generated.
He said it is economically wasteful to allow such quantum of money to lay dormant, especially at a time the country is in dire need of improving its gross domestic product, GDP, and strengthening its currency.
The Minister, who noted that some primary schools were holding classes under trees and sometimes used as voting centres where politicians garner votes only to turn their backs on the children soon after elections, called on state governments to prioritise basic education.

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