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Nigeria needs to expand revenue sources for education – Okowa

University of Delta, Owa-Alero Campus

University of Delta, Owa-Alero Campus

By Ifeanyi Olannye

Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta says the country needs to expand the frontiers of its revenue generation to mitigate the funding challenges inhibiting educational development.

Okowa said this after inspecting facilities at the Faculties of Engineering and Environmental Sciences, Owa-Alero Campus, University of Delta, Agbor, on Monday.

He said the nation needed to invest more funds in the infrastructure, human resource and equipment of the education sector to ensure the availability of full internet services in every university.

According to him, it is important to fund the educational system but unfortunately the nation’s economy is challenged.

“If you look at the national budget and most of the state budgets, you will find out that the Federal and State Governments are actually struggling.

“When you have so many competing forces to deal with in an annual budget, you try to put little funds across.

“Because, in the first instance, you have to ensure that you pay salaries and if at the end you have little left, then it is a major problem.

“Whenever I study the Federal Government budget, l feel very worried about the huge challenge we have as a nation.

“This is because you find out that every single kobo that is going into infrastructure development or capital development is actually borrowed,’’ he said.

The governor said there was huge problem when all resource that was available outside borrowing went into recurrent expenditure.

“And that is why if you study the budget in full at the federal level in the individual sector such as education and health; there are very huge funds available for recurrent expenditure because of payment of salaries.

“At the end, you only have between 10 to 15 or maximum 20 per cent for capital development; this in itself is a very huge problem,’’ Okowa explained.

He further said there was the need for the nation to find a way to prioritise by looking at the sectors that should be given greater attention.

“I think it requires a lot of work and a lot of prioritisation to deal with the sectors that are most important.

“All sectors are important but some sectors are definitely more important than others.

“So, it requires a genuine analysis of what we are doing at the moment and then have a rethink to be able to take us to where we ought to be,” he said.

The governor said that work at the faculties had progressed, adding that it should progress a little faster.

He added that the faculties had been accredited by the National University Commission and that lectures had since started in the campus. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)