The revenue collection of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) dropped from N257bn to N189bn last year, the agency has said.

According to the agency, the drop in revenue amounted to N68bn from what it collected last year to run its operations in 2022.

Executive Secretary of Tetfund, Sonny Echono, disclosed these on Thursday in Abuja when members of the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, led by Aminu Suleiman, paid an oversight visit to the agency.

Echono, while speaking on the operations of the agency and the state of finances, especially from 2017 to date, said last year’s collection, which was what TETFund used to run the agency this year, dropped to N189 billion.

He said: “We witnessed a steady rise in collections under the education tax but unfortunately, last year, for the 2021 there was a sharp drop and that left us in a very dire position.

“For example, as I said, from N154 billion in 2017, the tax collection rose steadily to N257 billion over the years.

“So by 2020, we’ve got N257 billion, but unfortunately, last year’s collection, which is what we used to operate this year, dropped sharply to N189 billion.

“So over N60 billion drop revenue or resources available to TETfund and the way we operate, 2021 collections are used for 2022 operations.”

However, he noted that given President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to increased funding for education, and with the support of the National Assembly, the tax rate last year was increased from 2 to 2.5 per cent.

“But the target is that before the end of this administration, it will increase to three per cent, which is a commitment that the President has already given in writing to the global community to the Global Partnership for Education,” Echono said.

Echono commended the level of support and cooperation the agency has enjoyed from the committee and the National Assembly, while seeking its support in effecting the amendment of TETfund.

“This is a major area that will be seeking the support of the National Assembly in terms of legislation.

“The other aspect is the fact that in contravention of this oversight, we also want to open our activities more to independent assessment and evaluation on our behalf.

“So we have designed a monitoring and evaluation that will involve key stakeholders, like the National Assembly, even the staff unions in our tertiary institutions, to independently look at some of the things that we’re doing,” he added.

Suleiman assured Tetfund of its continued support and cooperation to ensure that the system continued to work stronger.

He said: “We congratulate you and we assure you of our support, without prejudice to the fact that sometimes we can agree to disagree.

“And I’m sure you are familiar we have had quite several even when you are the Permanent Secretary to disagree entirely with the ministry, but not predicated on any personal motive but to share with you where I’m at with them differently from the way things are being done, and in most cases, we actually arrive at the surface.

“I have no doubt that our relationship will continue here. The essence is for us like I said to improve the system.”

He said the visit was part of legislative oversight which must be conducted and the periodic report submitted to the House to discuss the matters, particularly challenges that affect agencies and monitors of those agencies are facing.

He also directed TETFund to mandate state institutions benefiting from its interventions to submit reports of their operations within three weeks.