Education board allots N7.5b for projects

Eme Offiong, Calabar

The Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB has earmarked 7.5 billion Naira for more than 230 intervention projects in schools across the 18 council areas.

The Chairman of the Board, Dr. Stephen Odey made the remark while speaking to journalists in Calabar,,the State capital.

Due Process
Dr. Odey said that the board would follow due process to ensure a transparent procurement process.

“Based on the funds that has been released to us, I have been able to access the funds and have commenced procurement as we have advertised in some national newspapers for more than 230 projects as intervention in our basic education sector,” Dr. Odey stated.

According to him, “we are going to be very prudent and transparent in our operations; we have emphasised due process in all aspects and we will award jobs only to contractors that are competent and who have the capacity to deliver in time and in line with the specifics.”

Matching Grants
The Board Chairman explained that the funds allotted to the projects spanned four years of unclaimed grants since Cross River did not present matching grants since 2012 to 2015.

“When we assumed office, it was discovered that in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, Cross River State could not come up with a matching grant to access the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) fund. The situation was pathetic. But the State Governor, Ben Ayade approved 3.8 billion Naira to enable us access the grant.”

“An excess fund was left with the Central Bank of Nigeria covering 2012 to 2015, which my predecessors were unable to access. I have gotten that also and right now there are several projects ongoing across the State,” Dr. Odey said.

Project Monitoring
Dr. Odey further explained that to ensure the successful contractors maintain standards, UBEC and SUBEB technical teams would monitor all projects while relevant anti-corruption agencies would overseer other important procedures to discourage wastage and misappropriation.

“We have said that contractors, who do not maintain standards; that abandon jobs and/or misappropriate funds and who do not adhere to specified time need not apply for the bid.  We will go after any contractor that abandons any project. But, SUBEB will remain transparent in all its dealing since we are working on our action plan, which we defended at the commission.”

“All our approvals were gotten in Abuja and these approvals attest to the fact that we all function as a team to deliver on our vision. We are also involving EFCC, ICPC and the Attorney-General of the Federation in what we are doing,” he said.

Odey added that, “We are open for scrutiny by the public. We cannot divert or allow anyone misuse our funds. All the projects we are executing and will execute are evenly distributed across the State and in line with the NEEDS assessment.”