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Abuja private schools face steep fee hike amidst tax revisions

Minister Nyesom Wike's Decision Sparks Concerns Over Affordability and Accessibility of Education

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Abuja-based private schools are bracing for an unprecedented increase in fees following Federal Capital Territory Minister Nyesom Wike’s decision to raise operation charges for private educational institutions in the capital city.

According to a memo circulated by the Head of Account, Department of Quality Assurance of the Education Secretariat, Mudi Muhammed, the new tax regime, effective January 2024, will calculate charges based on student tuition and enrollment figures.

Titled “Review of private school operation charges in FCT,” the memo outlines the cessation of the old rate of charges as of December 31, 2023, and the implementation of new charges as of January 1, 2024.

In response, the National Association of Private School Owners in the FCT expressed concerns about the tax revisions, arguing that the move contradicted the government’s pledge to reduce multiple taxes. The association highlighted the potential ramifications, warning that increased operational costs could exacerbate the issue of out-of-school children and strain private school resources.

Chairperson Ruqayah Agboola, in a letter to the Education Secretariat, underscored the financial challenges faced by private schools, including economic hardships, outstanding bank loans, and unpaid fees from parents. The association appealed for a 50% reduction in annual dues to alleviate financial burdens and facilitate the recovery of outstanding payments.

While members of the association contemplate further action, including correspondence with Minister Nyesom Wike and engagement with the Parents-Teachers Association, concerns persist about the broader implications of the tax revisions on education accessibility and affordability in the FCT.

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