Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers said on Monday that his administration had accessed N5.6 billion from the Universal Basic Education Commission Fund (UBEC) for the development of primary schools in the state.
Wike made the statement when members of the House Committee on Basic Education and Services paid him a courtesy visit in Port Harcourt.
Wike assured the committee of the state’s readiness to commence the rehabilitation of 174 primary schools in the state.
He said that the state was able to access the funds because it had paid up its counterpart fund.
“When we came on board, we discovered that the immediate past administration did not access UBEC funds because it failed to pay counterpart funds.
“We have paid the counterpart funds and we have accessed N5.6 billion which would be used for the total rehabilitation of primary schools,” he said.
He also said that the last administration took some steps towards amending the UBEC Act, to enable it accommodate secondary education.
The governor explained that the amendment process had yet to be concluded and urged the Federal Government to ensure that the process was concluded, to boost the sub-sector.
“The amendment of the UBEC Act to accommodate senior secondary education was started by the last administration, but it was not concluded.
” I, therefore, call for the amendment of the Act to ensure that the commission undertakes the funding of senior secondary education in the country.”
Wike, who was a former Minister of State for Education, said that rather than establish another commission to cater for infrastructural needs of senior secondary schools, UBEC should be empowered by law to do so.
Earlier, Mr Zakari Mohamned, the Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, said that the committee was in the state to ascertain the extent of the utilisation of the UBEC fund.
He commended the state government on its plan to channel the funds to infrastructural development of primary schools in the state.