The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) on Thursday kicked against what the body views as attempts by the federal government to include Federal Polytechnics as revenue generating institutions.
Shammah Kpanja, president of the body in a statement on Thursday, called on the federal government to exclude all its tertiary institutions, including the Polytechnics in particular from the policy that includes them as part of revenue generating bodies.
Kpanja said the call is borne out of the need to save the institutions and Polytechnics in particular from foreseen capitulation with its severe ripple effect and consequences on staff, students and society at large.
The body also called on the Federal Government to, instead, “devise means of increasing funding to these tertiary institutions as they should be treated as part of the social service sectors in dire need of resuscitation and stability.”
The Union said it was in possession of a finance circular issued by the Federal Ministry of Finance on the 28th of December, 2023 conveying implementation of “Presidential Directives on 50% Automatic Deduction from Internally Generated Revenue of Federal Government Owned Enterprises”.
The circular, according to ASUP, is similar to the one issued in October 2023 where the Federal Government conveyed its plans to commence the deduction of 40% of the “Internally Generated Revenue of partially funded federal government institutions”.
The body noted that the circulars included heads of tertiary institutions established and owned by the Federal Government in the distribution implying that the Federal Tertiary Institutions are included in the Federal Government’s classification of revenue generating agencies/agents of the government.
” We are equally aware that following the outcry from the nation, the President directed a suspension of the policy in Federal Tertiary Institutions.
“We are therefore surprised and worried that the Federal Ministry of Finance is issuing yet another circular to this effect presumably overriding the Presidential directive on the issue as there no reports yet indicating that the President has lifted the suspension.
Kpanja stated that ” at the heart of our Union’s worry is the continued classification of these tertiary institutions as “Revenue Generating Agencies/Agents of the Federal Government”.
“We view this an embarrassingly poor understanding of the workings and indeed the well documented deplorable funding status of these tertiary institutions by the Federal Ministry of Finance.
“For the records and the umpteenth time, tuition fees are forbidden in the nation’s tertiary institutions as a policy of the government.
“These institutions survive on the meager allocations for capital, overhead and personnel costs from the government with support from interventionist agencies like Tertiary Education Trust Fund.
He explained that the fees charged by these institutions which is currently and erroneously tagged as IGR are charges for specific services to students.
“We are indeed worried by this unwelcome end of the year “gift” by the Federal Ministry of Finance as same is a clear invitation to anarchy in these tertiary institutions.
“As a matter of fact, no Polytechnic in the country can survive with this poorly thought out policy of classifying tertiary institutions as revenue generating agencies.
We are therefore calling for the exclusion of tertiary institutions in general and Polytechnics in particular from this circular.
“This call is borne from the need to save the institutions and Polytechnics in particular from foreseen capitulation with its severe ripple effect and consequences on staff, students and society at large.
“The Federal Government should rather devise means of increasing funding to these tertiary institutions as they should be treated as part of the social service sectors in dire need of resuscitation and stability.”