TERTIARY institutions in Nigeria have been urged to be prudent in their spendings.
Dr. Abdullahi Bashir, an Associate Professor at the Department of Information Technology, Modibbo Adama University of Technology, gave this charge during the Prime Business Africa (PBA) 2nd Socio-Economic and Entrepreneurship Development Series (SEEDS) on Tuesday.
Dr. Abdullahi was one of the seven panelists at the PBA webinar which centered on funding tertiary education in Nigeria. He admitted that monies allocated to public tertiary institutions are not enough, but said that the institutions should learn to spend the little they get effectively.
“The public institutions mismanage the little money they get. You see a university that is underfunded but it it spends money on elephant projects. It can be very funny, not directly adding value to what the university, polytechnic or college of education needs. Sometimes it’s really embarrassing, ” he said.
“So, we need to look to 5 or 6 per cent that is being given to education in public sector, how are we spending that amount? So it’s pitiable that in most of the tertiary institutions, there’s very poor financial management, so to say.”
He also raised issues with the budgeting system in Nigeria, saying that government needs to monitor what they budgeted money for. He also said that tertiary institutions need to introduce more programmes that could fetch them money independently.
“The budgeting is also a very big problem. The ministries and the MDAs that are responsible will just give the institutions template that you will not exceed this amount, and you know universities over the years never exceed that irrespective of what the university needs, so the little that is being gotten is not spent properly.
“Then I also want to add that, as part of universities, college of education or polytechnic getting more funding, they need to introduce quality programmes.
“The COVID-19 experience has given some of the Nigerian universities opportunity to open distant learning programmes which is very important in providing access to hundreds of thousands of people who cannot come to study face to face. So those universities who have already established those structures are leveraging this in terms of giving other people access irrespective of distance.”
Still harping on spending prudently, Dr. Abdullahi lamented that the tertiary institutions were not leveraging technology to reduce spending on unnecessary things.
“I went to University of Ife on accreditation and I looked at IT facilities there and I told them that even the regular students you can teach them online. They have the facility but the mindset to say that okay, why should we use technology when the lecturer can come to class.
“You have to be physically present in the house, you have to sign attendance because sometimes we are not making use of technology and if you look at all our tertiary institutions, we spend a lot of money on paper based work for instance.
“I see tones of paper, money being invested on paper, they buy photocopiers, buy generator to power them and these paper people will seat on it, ten minutes they are done, the paper will go back to garbage and huge sums of money gone. We have to leverage on the little resources we have so that we put the money on buying things that are essential.”