DESPITE huge number of out-of-school children in the country, state governments have refused to access the Universal Basic Education matching grant which could allow to bring back the children to school.
According to the Executive Secretary of , Universal Basic Education Commission, Hamid Bobboyi, the total unaccessed UBEC matching grant is now N73 billion.
There are over 10million out-of-school children in Nigeria and the largest in the world according to UNICEF.
Bobboyi made this known on Monday in Abuja in his presentation to the members of House Committee on Basic Education and Services on oversight visit to the Commission headquarter on the 2019 budget performance.
According to him, Kwara State alone has over N7 billion having been unable to access the fund from 2014 to 2019. Other states like Anambra have N4.2 billion, Enugu N4.3 billion, Abia N3.8 billion, and Plateau N3.1 billion among others.
He told the delegation that N73 billion was out of the over N112 billion allocated from the Consolidated Revenue Fund to UBEC under the 2019 Appropriation Act.
He, however, explained that the figure of un-accessed fund was high because the 2019 matching grant was actually due for access by state governments from 31st December, 2019.
He said: “Technically, 2019 is not un-accessed because you cannot access fund between 31st December, and January 2020. It is an amount that usually accumulate up to the end of the year, before people begin to access it”.
Bobboyi also disclosed that 10 states have also lodged their 50 per cent counterpart which is prerequisite for accessing the matching grant but were unable to access the cash because they have failed to submit action plan detailing the projects to be executed to UBEC.
He said Anambra state had paid its counterpart fund wondering why the state has refused to forward the action plan to the Commission for the matching grant to be released to the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) for development of infrastructure in the state.
He insisted that the there was no way the fund could be released without the necessary action plan, this was the only to track and monitor the implementation of the projects executed with the Federal Government assisted fund.
He appealed to the members of the House Committee on Basic Education and Services to liaise with their state governors on the need to access the UBE funds and utilise them effectively in the effort to have a functional and literate society.
On the Federal Teachers’ Scheme, the Hamid Bobboyi lamented that the Commission has been unable to pay the allowances of the teachers because of inadequate capital releases.
He said the Commission was considering meeting with the House Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on how to resolve the problem because several petitions have been written against UBEC.
Vice Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Usman Zanah, who led the delegation, said the visit was one of the constitutional mandates of the National Assembly to play oversight role on Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government in order to ensure accountability, transparency and sustainability of good governance in the country.
He commended UBEC Executive Secretary for introducing various innovations and effectiveness in the disbursement of the matching grant for the overall development of education in the country.
Zanah, expressed the commitment of the National Assembly within the confines of law to assist the Commission in actualising its mandate for the overall benefit of the citizenry.