From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Federal Government has reminded chairmen and members of Governing Councils of Federal Tertiary Institutions of the need to stay away from issues of procurement to avoid unnecessary clashes with the heads of the institutions.
It also advised the council members to critical study their responsibilities, know their boundaries so they can have a harmonious working relationship that would herald significant growth and development in the institutions.
Minister of Education Malam Adamu Adamu gave the advice in Abuja on Tuesday during the inauguration of the Governing Council of eight Federal Polytechnics and six Colleges of Education, most of whom were newly established across the six geopolitical zones.
Adamu confirmed that governing council has powers for general control and superintendence over the policies, finances, and properties of the institution, with three years tenure from the date of inauguration.
The Minister said: “It’s essential that you acquaint yourselves with the laws establishing your institution as well as with other relevant laws of the Federation, and exercise such power with the utmost sense of responsibility and in the best interest of your institution.
“I want to, particularly, draw your attention to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act (PPA) 2007, which prior to the enactment of this Act, the Governing Councils of Tertiary institutions were responsible for procurement matters, through the Council’s Tenders Board.
“However, with PPA 2007, the Chief Executives of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) took over the responsibility for procurement matters.
“Thus, in the Polytechnics, the Rectors and his/her Management are responsible for procurement, while in the Colleges of Education, the Provosts and his/her Management teams are in charge of Procurement.
“They expected to brief the Governing Councils regularly on all procurements, as it is done on all financial and other matters. You need to take due cognisance of this, as it had, in the past, led to unnecessary frictions between the Councils and Managements of some Polytechnics and Colleges of Education.”
The Minister, however, admitted that poor management of funds has been a major operational constraint in the education sector, hence he charged the Council members to judiciously utilise the limited funds that would be allocated to the institutions.
He advised the new governing council to enlist the support of philanthropic organisations, individuals and other sources of revenue through an endowment for additional funding of their institutions.
He also reminded the council of the need to respect the principle of Federal Character in the appointment of members of staff, discouraging the culture of parochial and primordial enclaves which has eroded the concept of universalism especially in matters regarding staff employment.
“You should work closely with the Federal Character Commission to ensure compliance, and also adopt best practices and comply with statutory guidelines in the performance of your supervisory functions,” he added.