Agric institutes seek TETFUND Interventions over deplorable facilities
National Heads of Colleges of Agriculture and Related Disciplines (NACHCARD), has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), to allow colleges of agriculture to benefit from TETFund intervention as part of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
According to the TETFund Act of 2011, the agency’s scope of operation extends to all government-owned schools, including universities, polytechnics, colleges of education and special institutes for research. The agency’s source of income comes from the two per cent education tax imposed on assessable profit of registered companies.
The decaying infrastructure in tertiary institutions became a source of concern for members of the academia, who sounded the alarm that public institutions could collapse if the situation was not arrested.
Incessant industrial actions became the order of the day to force the government to provide funds for the rehabilitation of higher institutions.
TETFund’s establishment was seen as a breath of fresh air in managing the infrastructure and operations of tertiary institutions.
At inception, TETFund’s activities were present in all tertiary institutions, including colleges of agriculture, which are research institutes.
Three years later, the Act setting up the agency was amended, removing Colleges of Agriculture from the scheme.
Since then, the ASUU, representing the interest of universities, has been countering any move to rectify the anomaly.
But NACHCARD National Chairman, Dr. Oluyemi Akande, appealing to the body in Abuja, regretted that, since their erroneous removal from the intervention in 2011, the institutes have not witnessed any infrastructural and facility development unlike their counterparts in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the country.
Akande explained: “They need to include us in what they are doing because what forms the Tetfund is two percent directives from all industries in Nigeria, which is what the Tetfund is using as intervention.
“They have three or four types of interventions namely: Library intervention, main intervention and research intervention, all these interventions are special interventions and we are not enjoying one. When you go to the universities and polytechnics you see giant structures that they cannot even use in the next three years whereas we are suffering.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to look into our case, and call us back to enjoy Tetfund interventions because that is the reason why we are not developing because there is no intervention for us.
“The law that established Tetfund says tertiary institutions, and ironically, polytechnics that are under the Federal Ministry of Education, their programme is being monitored by the National Board for Technical Education, which is the same body that is accrediting the courses of colleges of agriculture. Now we are asking them to tell us the difference between us and polytechnics that makes them separate us when we are producing the same results for our graduates. There is no tangible reason for excluding us rather than because we are not under the Federal Ministry of Education.”
Akande also urged the government to establish private colleges of agriculture like universities and polytechnics for equal spread in view of their roles in agriculture development in Nigeria.
Stressing the need for checking the quantity of agricultural produce that is lost due to lack of preservation, he called for the creation of an agricultural produce storage chain where excess products that farmers can’t eat or sell immediately after harvest will be stored using the private sector.
Akande maintained that agricultural institutions in Nigeria need to be strengthened with robust research grants and interventions and increase farmer/extension agent’s ratio.
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