Stakeholder wants government to invest fallow pension funds in sector
Coordinator of the Education Sector Investment Promotion (EduInvest), Arete-Zoe Affiong Amana, has urged the Federal Government to consider investing fallow pension funds to boost education in the country.
She has also advised that the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Intervention Fund of the Central Bank, should be education-focused so that the sector can get all the funding it requires to become a regional hub in Africa.
Amana who made the suggestions during an interaction with journalists in Abuja, said she was of the opinion that since the sector needs a whooping $1.8 billion to address teachers’ shortfall, and more to address decaying infrastructure and out-of-school children, using fallow funds such as those available in the pension sector, would be very helpful.
She further explained that if the CBN ensures that those accessing the SME intervention funds are made to invest the money in education services, and in the manufacturing of educational materials, the sector can overcome some of its challenges, and the future guaranteed for generations coming.
According to her, if such attention is given to the education sector, many Nigerian students will not have reasons to travel far and wide to obtain education, and there won’t be so much pressure on Nigeria’s foreign reserve. In the long run according to her, Nigeria can once again emerge as a regional hub for education for the whole of Africa.
She called on the Federal Ministry of Education, to engage the private sector and their budget and planning, as well as, foreign affairs counterparts in charting practical steps for the funding of the sector, and in actualising the new strategic plan.
She noted that EduInvest is collaborating with the Nigeria Investment Promotions Council (NIPC), and the Education Ministry, to galvanise private sector involvement in the funding of the education.
An investment forum has been scheduled to take place in Calabar, Cross River State, between November 1 and 3, where stakeholders and investors will meet to facilitate domestic and foreign direct investments for educational development.
“The initiative will also make Nigeria’s education sector a net income earner and contributor to the nation’s gross domestic product. A nation’s best asset is its people. The public and private sectors should work together for the good of the sector. There is a strong need to forge strategic partnership to address the needs of the sector in earnest. Nigerians are selling in every sector worldwide. They should be involved and local actors should not be shut out,” she advised.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu recently called for the involvement of non-state actors in funding the sector, in view of a report by UNESCO which stated that Nigeria will need an extra $1.8 billion annually to address teachers shortfall.