The House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services has said that Federal Polytechnic Ekowe, Bayelsa State may not be appropriated for in the 2018 budget, due to uncertainty surrounding its existence.
Chairman of the committee, Aminu Suleiman stated this in Kaduna on Monday, when he led other members of the committee on an oversight visit to National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).
Suleiman explained that the Federal Government appropriated about four billion to the polytechnic in 2017 budget, including monthly allocation of N140 million for over head with noting to show for it.
According to him, the committee visited the institution sometime ago but there was nothing on ground to show that the polytechnic actually exist and performing the functioning it was established for.
“If it is an institution that is alive, there would be presence of security personnel, but there was absolutely nothing when we got there. We saw a very good edifice, but occupied by rats and lizards.
“In fact, we had to wait for hours before some few members of the management appeared to receive us.
“They claimed that the polytechnic has about 110 students and over 1000 staff, but there was no any document, report or nominal role to prove that the so-called staffs were properly recruited by the Federal Government.”
He said that the federal government was appropriating money to the polytechnic but no one knows where the monies are going.
“We will start sitting on the budget in the next two weeks. Until we are sure of the true status of the institution, no money will be appropriated to the school, “he said.
He explained that objective of the oversight visit was to share ideas particularly with the challenges affecting the technical education system and advice where necessary on ways to strengthen the system.
“But the main goal is to have a family discussion on the way to strengthen the technical education to succeed in our quest to develop the needed technical skill manpower for national development.”
Responding, the Executive Secretary of the board, Dr. Mas’udu Kazaure said that the board written several reports to alert the government that the institution was not performing the function for which it was established.
Kazaure added that the polytechnic was not accessible by air or by road except through water and complicated by security challenges in the area.
“In fact I have even advised that the polytechnic be converted to a Navy institution, “he said.
He said that board has 523 technical institutions under its purview comprising of 112 polytechnics, 35 colleges of agriculture, 29 colleges of health sciences, and 26 specialised institutions.
Others are 138 innovation enterprises institutions, 110 technical colleges, and 73 vocational enterprise institutions.
NBTE boss identified some challenges affecting the technical education system to include nonpayment of salaries in many state polytechnics, delay in the review of Federal Polytechnic Act and timely release of funds.
“For example, the budget performance for 2016 was 35 per cent due to poor releases of funds allocated for capital projects, “Kazaure said.