In a notable reversal, President Bola Tinubu has scrapped the contentious 40% deduction policy from internally generated revenue (IGR) of federal universities nationwide. The President, represented by the Minister of Education, Tahir Mamman, expressed his reservations about the policy’s timing during the 75th Founder’s Day ceremony at the University of Ibadan.
Describing the implementation as “ill-timed,” Tinubu emphasized that it was not the opportune moment for such a financial burden on struggling universities. Pledging his dedication to education reform, he affirmed the significance of a robust education sector in fostering national development.
Addressing the gathering, Tinubu announced the cancellation of the 40% IGR automatic deduction policy, highlighting the challenging circumstances faced by the nation’s universities. He stated, “This is not the best time for such a policy since our universities are struggling.”
The Federal Government had initially communicated its intention to enforce the policy through a letter dated October 17, 2023. Titled ‘Implementation of 40% automatic deduction from internally generated revenue of partially funded Federal Government institutions,’ the letter, signed by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mrs. Oluwatoyin Madein, and Director of Revenue and Investment, Felix Ore-ofe Ogundairo, cited a Finance Circular as the basis for the auto-deduction policy.
The announcement triggered a wave of protests from the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, urging the government to reconsider its decision. Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, the Secretary-General of the Committee, argued that demanding 40% of IGRs without granting university autonomy was inconsistent. He warned of consequences for parents should the government proceed with the policy against their plea.
President Tinubu’s intervention is seen as a response to the growing outcry from the education sector, aligning with his commitment to prioritize the welfare of universities amid their current challenges.