From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the Harmonised Retirement Age for Teachers Bill, 2021, which seeks to give legal backing to the Buhari administration’s measure to enhance the teaching profession in the country.
President Muhammadu Buhari approved the bill at the meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to be sent to the National Assembly for its consideration and possible approval.
If approved by federal lawmakers, the retirement age of teachers would be increased from 60 to 65-years-old, with years of service increased from 35 to 40.
Minister of Education Adamu Adamu, who briefed State House Correspondents at the end of the meeting, said some highlights of the bill include the introduction of bursary award, special rural posting allowances and other measures to attract the best brains to the profession.
‘This memo that was approved for education is a giant step towards what we set out to do towards the end of last year with the approval by Mr President of some special packages for teachers. So, at the meeting today, the council approved that bill which will be called Harmonized Retirement Age for Teachers in Nigeria Bill, 2021, to be sent to the National Assembly for enactment into law. So, all the promises the President made and all the approvals that he has given me will now begin to put into effect because this is a legal backing that is required for it,’ the minister said.
‘I want to assure teachers that this government will do to them what has never been done. This is the first biggest step.
‘The intention is to attract the best brains to the teaching profession. For that, the President approved the reintroduction of bursary awards which I told you here last year, improving teacher quality, and funding teaching practice.
‘From TETFUND, he approved an enhanced entry point for teachers. Then, he approved that there should be some special allowances that will allow teachers to be posted to places you can consider ‘hardship postings’, rural posting allowance, science teacher allowance, and of course we have Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN) under us that has professionalized the profession. Those are the highlights which you already know. But this is the biggest stage now. We are getting legal backing for all these things.
‘The essence of the bill is to seek approval so that there is the legal backing for the new retirement age of 65 years for teachers and the service period being extended to 40 years for teachers. This is the main issue while all other issues are ancillary to it.’
The Council also approved the sum of N1.4 billion for the upgrading of electricity facilities at the Calabar Free Trade Zone Area.
Minister of Industry Trade and Investment Niyi Adebayo remarked: ‘On behalf of one of our parastatals, the Nigeria Exports Processing Zones Authority, we brought a memo for the award of contract for the upgrade of the electricity component in the Calabar Free Trade Zone Area.
‘The contracts were initially awarded in 2018 to upgrade the electrical facility in the Area but it was not completed so we brought a memo today and council approved the sum of N1,000,484, 000 for the completion of electrical upgrading at the Calabar Free Trade Zone Area.’
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Sabo Nanono said the Council ratified a treaty tagged “Plant Genetic Resource for Food and Agriculture” for the advancement and enhancement of agricultural resource base of the member countries.
‘This memo which was approved today was a treaty on plant genetic resource for food and agriculture. The import of this treaty is for the advancement and enhancement of the agricultural resource base of the member countries. Nigeria has signed the treaty for a long time but it is only today that the FEC approved the ratification. We will now become a full member of this treaty and it will enhance the training and research of our agricultural scientists… and so on and so forth.
‘In short, the entire treaty is meant to boost agricultural production in the country as it affects other countries, 167 of them.’