TETFund: Pro-chancellors reject Reps’ suspension order to VCs

THE Committee of Pro-Chancellors of State-Owned Universities (COPSUN), has rejected the directive by the House of Representatives Committee on Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) asking all public universities to stay action on the implementation of the 2024 normal TETFUND intervention, saying the order is not in the interest of the beneficiary institutions.

It, therefore, called on members of the House Committee to immediately withdraw the directive in order to allow for smooth running of the institutions.

The secretary of COPSUN, Suleiman Abubakar Mahdi, in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, said the directive was in violation of the universities’ autonomy and an encroachment on the powers of the state governments, especially the State Houses of Assemblies.

The statement reads in part: “The attention of the above committee has been drawn to a letter from the House of Representatives Committee on TETFUND directing all Nigerian-owned universities to stay action on the implementation of the 2024 normal TETFUND intervention.

“The directive further required all universities to submit drawings, designs and specifications, procurement, among others to the committee.

“This committee is gravely concerned about this unprecedented directive given at a time when the universities are in various stages of procurement and the likely effect it will have on their budgetary implementation processes.

“It should be noted that the Governing Councils of the various state-owned universities are by Law empowered to award or approve the award of contracts after due procurement processes and are doing so in exercise of the executive prerogative.

“With the greatest respect to the House Committee, we feel that their action is not only an encroachment on the autonomy of the universities but an infringement on the doctrine of the separation of powers which has the potential for conflict among the tiers and branches of government.

“The House Committee may wish to be respectfully reminded that the funds disbursed by TETFUND belong to the states and are subject to appropriation and exclusive oversight by the various states’ Houses of Assembly.

“Therefore, the directive even if valid, should not apply to the state-owned universities.

“Furthermore, time is of the essence in executing these contracts, and with the upward trend in the dollar exchange rate with the resultant inflation, this could ultimately increase costs.

“While expressing its highest regards to the esteemed members of the House of Representatives and having no doubt that their actions are well-intentioned, this Committee is humbly calling on the House of Representatives on TETFUND to rescind this directive and allow for further consultations, if need be.”

SOURCE: NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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