ITF dis­burses N13b to SIWES stu­dents in seven years

•De­nies mis­man­ag­ing funds

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - APPOINTMENTS - From Adamu Abuh, Abuja

FROM the Direc­tor Gen­eral of the In­dus­trial train­ing fund (ITF), Dr Joseph Ari comes the dis­clo­sure his out­fit dis­bursed about N13.4 bil­lion to par­tic­i­pants of the Stu­dents In­dus­trial Work Ex­pe­ri­ence Scheme (SIWES) from 2010 to date.

Ari spoke while tes­ti­fy­ing be­fore the Mr Abubakar Moriki-led House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives com­mit­tee on In­dus­try prob­ing into al­le­ga­tions of mis­man­age­ment of SIWES funds by the ITF over the years. The ITF chief stated that the afore­men­tioned amount was dis­bursed to 1,026,761 stu­dents of ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions as stu­dents and su­per­vi­sory al­lowances within the pe­riod un­der re­view adding that of the N12.2 bil­lion ap­pro­pri­ated for the scheme, about N9.6 bil­lion was re­lease to his out­fit within the pe­riod un­der re­view.

He dis­closed that the short­fall of monies re­leased was in the range of N1.6 bil­lion to N2.7 bil­lion within the pe­riod, adding that the num­ber of stu­dents’ en­rol­ment has in­creased from 784 from 11 higher in­sti­tu­tions at in­cep­tion in 1974 to 3,560,908 from 311 higher in­sti­tu­tions in 2017.

He also de­nied al­le­ga­tions that funds meant for the scheme was mis­man­aged over the years.

Ac­cord­ing to him: “The al­le­ga­tion that the scheme had been mis­man­aged over the years is in­cor­rect. The ITF has a clear ac­count­ing sys­tem and has suc­cess­fully man­aged the scheme over the years link­ing in­sti­tu­tions and stu­dents with in­dus­tries.

“Peo­ple make al­le­ga­tions that may be based on wrong as­sump­tions that usu­ally re­quire clar­i­fi­ca­tion. It is per­ti­nent that an op­por­tu­nity be given for clar­i­fi­ca­tion and ed­u­ca­tion of ev­ery­one on how the scheme op­er­ates, who is el­i­gi­ble for pay­ment and those not el­i­gi­ble for pay­ment who as­sume that pay­ment is for all courses and for Nige­rian stu­dents.”

In­sist­ing that the SIWES scheme was meant for en­gi­neer­ing, tech­nol­ogy and tech­ni­cal re­lated courses, he iden­ti­fied ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in aca­demic cal­en­dar, de­lay in pay­ment due to wrong ac­count de­tails from in­sti­tu­tions and stu­dents and ver­i­fi­ca­tion of log books are among the chal­lenges re­spon­si­ble for the de­lay in pay­ment to ben­e­fi­cia­ries as at when due by ITF.

The deputy direc­tor aca­demic plan­ning of the all na­tional univer­sity com­mis­sion (NUC), Mrs Mar­garet Oyedele who dis­so­ci­ated her out­fit from is­sues re­lat­ing to the man­age­ment of SIWES funds can­vassed the need for im­proved fund­ing of the scheme.

She also called stressed the need for a joint mon­i­tor­ing team com­pris­ing ITF, NUC, the na­tional board for tech­ni­cal ed­u­ca­tion (NBTE) and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the polytech­nic, Monotech­nics and uni­ver­si­ties to en­sure ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of the scheme.

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