From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has demanded that Federal Government carry out upward review of education tax from hitherto 2.5 per cent to 10 per cent.
The Union said that such action will enable the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to mobilize more funds to address challenges confronting the tertiary education sector.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, made the suggestion in Abuja, on Thursday, at the unveiling of 50 new textbooks published by Nigerian authors under the sponsorship of TETFund.
Prof. Osodeke in his remarks described TETFund as a brainchild of the ASUU, hence he appreciated the efforts of TETFund over the years aimed at transforming the nation’s higher education sector.
While decrying poor attitude of some “big corporate companies” and wealthy Nigerians on the payment of education tax, Prof. Osodeke said there was need to reposition and expand the education tax net to bring about more resources for tertiary education institutions.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, in his remarks, commended the authors, TETFund’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and others for the publication of the 50 new textbooks.
He assured that the newly published books, would be distributed to tertiary institutions’ libraries at no cost but subsequent publications will be accessed with a cost by the students or other researchers. We are digitizing our thesis and records. All we are going to do now is to ensure we protect the authors’ intellectual property rights and once that is done, they are going to be available in the internet,” Echono said.
On the ASUU President’s demand for rise in education tax, Echono said, “I am aware the current administration has done a lot in this regard. President Muhammadu Buhari has taken two bold steps in this regard. There’s a degree of pushback from industries, from NECA about the issue of multiple taxation and the difficult operating environment, but seeing how important education is to national development, this President on two occasions increased the tax from 2 to 2.5 percent and in the current Finace Bill, he ensured that it is increased to 3 per cent.
“I don’t want to pre-empt until it is signed, but that shows the commitment of the President that wants to leave a legacy. Everyone knows that what is happening in most tertiary institutions is through the instrumentality of TETFund. So, increasing TETFund funding will go a long way.”