After seven years of sanctions for non-compliance, the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC), has lifted the embargo placed on N7,151,142,190 grants for schools rehabilitation accrued to the Kwara State Government.
As gathered, the state had been blacklisted from the national scheme since 2013 after the then administration allegedly diverted N450m meant for counterpart funding payable to access the grant.
It was learnt that lifting of the embargo was coming on the heels of payment of N450m diverted funds which had brought Kwara State under the UBEC hammer by the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq-led administration in line with its commitment to reposition the state’s basic education.
Confirming the development, the state’s Commissioner for Education and Human Capital Development, Fatimah Ahmed, said that the government had received the N7.1bn, adding that the fund was Kwara’s cumulative grants that were not accessed between 2014 and 2019.
Through a statement released to newsmen on Thursday, Ahmed explained that the UBEC grants would be used to rehabilitate no fewer than 600 elementary schools across the state and that plans had been concluded to ensure the funds were used judiciously.
“This money would be spent in phases over the next two years to fix up to 600 elementary schools out of the over 1400 decrepit basic education facilities across the state. The projects would be monitored by UBEC to ensure compliance with the work plan submitted by the government.
“This development has taken Kwara State out of the bottom position in the ranking of states with highest figures of outstanding UBEC grants. The pitiful state of basic education infrastructure in the state is a reflection of the failure to access UBEC funds and the near-zero investments in the sector over the past few years,” she said.
She, however, maintained that the government would be organising a three-day workshop for local contractors and others interested in working with the Kwara State Universal Basic Education Board (KW-SUBEB).
“In compliance with the Public Procurement Act 2007, the KWSUBEB will be inviting interested registered, competent, capable and reputable contractors to submit their pre-qualification document to tender,” the statement said.