President Bola Tinubu, represented by the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, announced the cancellation of the controversial 40% deduction from Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) in federal universities during the 75th Founder’s Day ceremony at the University of Ibadan. Tinubu described the policy as “ill-timed” and emphasized the challenges faced by struggling universities at the moment.
The Federal Government had initially communicated the implementation of the 40% automatic deduction in a letter dated October 17, 2023. The letter, signed by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mrs Oluwatoyin Madein, and Director of Revenue and Investment, Felix Ore-ofe Ogundairo, stated that the auto-deduction policy aligned with a Finance Circular from December 20, 2021.
In response, the Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities protested the deduction, expressing concerns about the government’s demand for 40% of universities’ IGR without granting them autonomy. Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, the Secretary-General of the committee, highlighted the Finance Act of 2020, which specified that 40% could only be sent to the FG if there was a surplus. Ochefu argued that universities lacked surplus, as their funding came from user charges, not profits or revenues.
Ochefu warned of consequences, indicating that if the government insisted on the deduction, parents would bear the burden. He mentioned that the institutions had written to the Ministry of Education, urging them to intervene and request the Ministry of Finance to halt the policy.
Additionally, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) opposed the requirement for public tertiary institutions to remit 40% of IGR to the FG. In a statement signed by its president, Emmanuel Osodeke, ASUU argued that the decision would further impoverish public universities already facing financial challenges.
The situation remains tense as university authorities and faculty associations stand against the deduction, citing potential adverse effects on the already strained education sector.