The Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc Sonny Echono, has revealed that the Nigerian government, through TETFund, has disbursed a total of N3.8 billion in recent years to support Nigerian scholars stranded abroad.

During an oversight visit to TETFund’s headquarters in Abuja, Echono informed the House of Representatives Committee on TETFund and other services about the financial assistance provided to 1,500 scholars.

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He highlighted the challenges faced by TETFund-sponsored scholars due to the high exchange rate, which prompted requests for additional funding. To alleviate the impact of the exchange rate on scholars, a bailout fund of N3.8 billion was granted.

Echono also acknowledged that the fluctuating exchange rate had resulted in a decline in the number of beneficiaries in TETFund’s academic training program at foreign institutions.

He emphasized improvements in the remittance process, with funds now being transferred directly to institutions in bulk, addressing concerns raised by the institutions in the past.

Expressing gratitude to the House of Representatives Committee, led by Honourable Miriam Onuoha, Echono commended their support for TETFund’s initiatives and projects, which are making positive impacts in the country.

He expressed appreciation for the committee’s role in increasing education tax collection from 2.5 percent to 3 percent, resulting in significant revenue growth.

Echono further discussed TETFund’s efforts to attract foreign grants for cutting-edge research, noting Nigeria’s improved ranking from 9th to 7th among African countries in terms of research grant attraction. He credited TETFund’s initiatives for this positive transformation.

In her response, Chairman Miriam Onuoha praised Echono for his meticulous execution of projects and interventions aligned with TETFund’s mandate. She emphasized the committee’s commitment to ensuring the judicious use of allocated funds.

Onuoha expressed concern regarding the accessibility of funds allocated to tertiary institutions, urging relevant government bodies and state governors to ensure compliance with TETFund’s guidelines.

The oversight visit aimed to assess TETFund’s performance in the 2022-2023 budget cycle and its alignment with budgetary provisions.