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SPECIAL REPORT : Ogun, Abia, Others Shun N54.90bn UBEC Funds Amidst Deteriorating Infrastructure

Daud Olatunji

Despite the dire state of primary schools in Nigeria, a significant amount of funds from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) went unclaimed by several states, including Ogun and Abia, between 2020 and 2023.

 Data obtained by  PLATFORM TIMES from the UBEC reveals that during this period, a total of N54.90 billion in UBEC matching grants were not accessed, exacerbating the challenges faced by the country’s basic education sector.

The unclaimed funds accumulated as follows: 2020: N1.43 billion; 2021: N2.84 billion ; 2022: N14.45 billion  and 2023: N36.17 billion

These grants are intended to support the enhancement of educational facilities and resources, such as the construction of classrooms, provision of instructional materials, installation of boreholes and toilet facilities, and training of teachers.

 Each state, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), had substantial amounts allocated annually: 2020: N715.07 million per state; 2021: N946.65 million per state ; 2022: N1.20 billion per state ; 2023: N1.396 billion per state 

Meanwhile, Ogun and Abia states consistently failed to access these funds throughout the four-year period. 

PLATFORM TIMES further findings revealed that the  issue was not isolated to these states alone.

 In 2020, only Abia and Ogun did not claim the grant. By 2021, the number of non-participating states increased to three, including Imo.

 In 2022, the number rose significantly with 12 states failing to access the grant. 

By 2023, the situation worsened, with only 12 states accessing their grants while the rest, including major states like Rivers and Kano, accessed only a fraction of the available funds.

PLATFORM TIMES further reports that the UBEC matching grants require states to contribute 50% of the allocated amount as a counterpart fund to access the grants. 

This mechanism is designed to ensure state commitment and proper utilisation of the funds. 

However, the inability or unwillingness of states to provide these counterpart funds has led to significant amounts remaining unutilized.

The consequences of not accessing these funds are stark.

 Last year, UBEC reported that Nigeria needs an additional 20,000 schools and 907,769 classrooms to accommodate the increasing number of out-of-school children.

 The failure to utilise available grants hinders efforts to address this educational deficit, leaving many schools in deplorable conditions.

PLATFORM TIMES observes that the reluctance of states to claim UBEC funds amidst poor school conditions is alarming. 

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