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YENAGOA – The Bayelsa State government has said that it will on May 24 formally launch the state education trust fund, more than two years after Governor Seriake Dickson signed into law the bill establishing the fund following its passage by the state House of Assembly.
Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, disclosed this in a statement he made available to reporters in Yenagoa on Sunday.
Nigeria’s frontline businessmen and founders of Zenith Bank Plc and Aiteo Group, Jim Ovia and Benedict Peters, are among eminent corporate launchers expected at the event scheduled to take place in Yenagoa.
Dickson had on March 31, 2017, signed the education trust fund bill into law, which made it compulsory for different categories of workers, including contractors and civil servants in Bayelsa, to pay education levies.
In June 2017, he inaugurated a 14-member board of the education trust fund chaired by a former Minister of Science and Technology, Turner Isoun.
The board went to work and in February 2018, presented its first annual report to the governor, declaring a receipt of about N800million out of which it spent N300million, leaving a balance of N500million.
The board had yet to present its second annual report.
Iworiso-Markson explained in the statement that the education trust fund was part of the government’s action plan to sustain the huge investment it had made in the education sector.
He said that apart from Ovia and Peters, other corporate launchers expected at the formal launch were the multinational oil companies operating in Bayelsa.
The information and orientation commissioner noted that the state used to be ranked at the bottom of external examinations before the Dickson administration came on board in 2012, stressing that the state was now among the top five leading states in the country.
He said, “We have also drastically reduce the number of out-of-school children by 90 percent. Our model boarding schools, which today has over 10,000 students, mostly from poor indigent families on full government scholarships, is also one of the revolution that has happened in that sector.
“All of these need to be sustained and the Education Trust Fund will take care of that”.
Source; Independent Newspapers Nigeria