Seven years after being blacklisted for diversion of funds, Kwara to access N7.1bn UBEC funds

 

Kwara State Government is set to invest at least N14bn in its basic education sector, with the cabinet on Friday approving for the state to take a N7.1bn loan to access the six-year backlog of outstanding UBEC funds.

The money would serve as 50% matching grants for the UBEC counterpart funds and is to be spent to bridge the yawning gap in its basic education sector, including strengthening infrastructure, training and equipping teachers with modern teaching skills, providing instruction materials, and purchasing vehicles to aid performance of monitoring and quality assurance activities across the state, Finance and Planning Commissioner Olasumbo Florence Oyeyemi told the cabinet meeting.

Kwara currently has Nigeria’s highest outstanding UBEC funds following the blacklist slammed on it for diverting what it accessed in 2013. The state exited the pariah status last year after the new administration paid back the N450m that was diverted, although it still has a backlog of N7,151,000,000.00 with the UBEC.

Oyeyemi said the bank facility would be accessed and drawn in batches.

Added to the N7.1bn matching grants from UBEC, she said Kwara would be committing at least N14,301,843,568.18 to revitalise the basic education sector across the state — a great addition to the investments the government was already making in the education sector.

She told the cabinet that the facility becomes necessary in the face of dwindling resources to subnational governments across the country and the overarching need in Kwara State to invest in basic education for a brighter future.

The cabinet decision would be conveyed to the House of Assembly for their approval and inclusion of same in a supplementary budget which the government might seek to deepen investments across productive sectors of the economy.

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