The Federal Government has invested more than N1.3 trillion to develop the education sector in the last four years, President Muhammadu Buhari, said on Thursday.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Post-Graduate Centre of Excellence at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State, the President explained that the investments in education exclude other financial comitments and releases for education infrastructure
The Centre in ABU was donated by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
He promised that his administration, in its second term, will continue to accord education priority by ensuring adequate funding for the sector to make it affordable, qualitative and competitive as obtained in other climes.
Before inaugurating the edifice, occupying 34,102.81 square metre, President Buhari described the project as a testimony to his administration’s effort at supporting qualitative learning from the primary through to the tertiary level.
Praising the apex bank for supporting the Federal Government’s investments in the education sector as well as other keys areas of the economy tied to overall national development, he urged the CBN to sustain such gesture for research and overall economic development.
In a chat with reporters, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele said the bank spent about N21 billion to build, equip and furnish three academic Centres of Excellence at the University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria Nsukka and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
Emefiele said: “Education and health are the bedrock of every nation’s development. These centres are built in University of Ibadan, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Ahmadu Bello University and the project will also be cited in some six other states, including Lagos and Port Harcourt.
“The centres are built for post graduate studies in economics, finance, market, accounting, management and specialised areas.”
The CBN governor added that the academic centres of excellence will compete with any centre or business schools in economics, banking, finance, in any part of the world.
Emefiele said: “We are talking of proven forensic accounting, programmes in global financial market and treasury development; programmes on risk and compliance management. These programmes, as they commence in October this year in these three universities, we are going to have programmes that will offer scholarship to indigent people.
“Some of the financial institutions in Nigeria will be requested to pay for the fees these students would have paid for the programmes to come in and acquire knowledge for the development of the country.”
He said that the bank’s intervention in the funding and infrastructural support in the educational sector was borne out of its conviction that an educated workforce played a critical role in the advancement of the Nigerian economy and the society in general.
“These centres”, he said “are very expensive and we want to make sure they are not run down due to lack of proper maintenance. So, the central bank will get involved in the facility management. The central bank will collaborate with the university in offering some of these subjects by releasing some staff of the bank with hands on experience to share their knowledge with the students.
“The centres in Enugu and Ibadan costs us nothing less than N7 billion. If you look at these centres under a different kind of environment, you will know that they will cost over N10 billion and am sure you know what am talking about.”
Emefiele said that the CBN will soon commence its intervention in the health sector by supporting the construction of seven medical diagnostics centres in the six geopolitical zones and the National Hospital Abuja.
He said: “Education and health form the bedrock of any country’s development. Now that we have sowed seed in the area of education, the CBN intends to build, first, diagnostic centres; like you know, diagnostics is the bedrock of medicine.
“We are building diagnostic centres in the six geopolitical zones in the country together with one – that is seven – in the national hospital in Abuja. The one in Abuja will also have Heart as well as cancer centres.
“It is important to do this because what takes people out of the country is diagnostics. Once your ailment is diagnosed, the assignment of the doctor is made simple. That is why I said we will be having diagnostics centres that will be serving as referrals from the teaching hospitals rather than our people going abroad for diagnosis, paying a lot of money.”
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