Rivers varsity, UNIPORT explore entrepreneurship for survival
The Rivers State University and the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) are carving a niche for themselves in establishing entrepreneurship businesses to enable them survive the present economic downturn.
It was learnt that the Rivers State University was establishing thriving cattle, pigs, birds and fish farms, among others, just as the management was also resuscitating its water factory to boost its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lingering industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), which forced most universities across the country to shutdown, the Rivers State University has been running till date.
Governor Nyesom Wike, who is visitor to the institution, said the development was helping the institution to weather the storm and released N16.6b for upgrade of facilities at the Institution.
A breakdown of the funding shows that N9 billion was meant for a take- off grant for the establishment of the new campuses at Ahoada, Emohua and Etche councils, while N3b was to be earmarked for each of the three new campuses for construction of faculty buildings, hostels, libraries, auditorium and also address other needs that may arise.
The Guardian investigations also revealed that biddings for the above projects have been concluded and contractors have moved to site.
Also, N7.6b was released to enable the College of Medical Sciences of the University to establish the faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Clinical Science and pathology building.
Speaking on how the university has been surviving, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the institution, Dr. Dike Harcourt- Whyte, said: “It has not been easy surviving the current economic situation in the country but our Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule, is a prudent person and has been doing everything possible to ensure that the university stays afloat.”
Findings revealed that UNIPORT’s IGR dropped since the COVID-19 pandemic even as Federal Government’s allocation has been insignificant compared to the expenses on electricity bills, maintenance, impress for departmental heads, payment to various contractors amongst others.
It was also learnt that ASUU’s lingering strike further affected its IGR, as there were no statutory payments by new students exacerbated by lack admissions for fresh students for almost a year.
But things are said to be gradually improving and the system appeared to be stabilizing, as the institution is currently admitting new students and the payments are progressively coming in.
Although the Acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stepen Okodudu, declined interview, but it was gathered that a lot of things were being put in place to generate income for the university.