The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities has sent a protest letter to the Federal Government, urging a reversal of the plan to deduct 40 percent of federal universities’ Internally Generated Revenues (IGR).
Yakubu Ochefu, Secretary-General of the Committee, emphasised that the government’s demand for 40 percent of university IGR is unjustified, particularly as it has yet to grant them autonomy.
The government’s intention to implement this deduction from November 2023, as stated in a letter dated October 17, 2023, has raised concerns.
Ochefu highlighted that universities operate without surpluses, relying primarily on student fees rather than generating profits or revenues, and any enforced deduction would ultimately affect parents.
He said, “If you look at the Act, it didn’t say 40% IGR, but surplus. So, who determines what is surplus? The Finance Act of 2020 is explanatory, and it is the institution that is supposed to decide and send you the surplus if there is any. But FG says it now wants to deduct it from the source. We have protested and written to the Ministry of Education.
“If they insist, it means they want to ground the universities to a halt. Or we will be forced to add the 40 percent to what we are charging the end users, and these end users are already complaining. We told the Ministry of Education to write the Ministry of Finance to halt the development. The letter was written on Thursday.
“Ultimately, any decision taken, it is the parents that will bear it. Schools are not commercial activities; they are social entities. Parents will bear it if FG insists on a 40 percent deduction. For the government to sit down somewhere and equate universities, colleges, and polytechnics as revenue centres, that isn’t possible. They are not funding universities well enough. If you grant autonomy and we are charging the normal rate, then we will give you 40 percent.”
Also, Emmanuel Osodeke, the National President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), said, “As a union, we are in a meeting to take the decision. They are not supposed to deduct anything from anyone. The university is not generating revenue, which means you want to give students loans and you want to go back to the universities to collect them as 40 percent IGR.
“These are universities that are not properly funded. Parents are complaining that they can’t pay the current fees, yet you want to collect 40 percent of the little universities earn.”