By Faith Igbudu
Over three billion naira is to be expended in the 2020/2021 intervention funds for Universal Basic Education (UBE) projects in Benue State.
The funds are said to be made available by equal contribution both from Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) and the Benue State government.
The was disclosed at the occasion of the official bids opening for the utilization of 2020/2021 UBEC/BNSG intervention funds at the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Makurdi.
Declaring the bid for the projects open, state Commissioner for Education, Dr Sarwuan Tarnongu, cautioned contractors not to jeopardize the efforts of the government in basic education by misappropriating the funds or abandoning projects. He added that government will not hesitate to deal with any contractor found wanting.
He disclosed that the funds are: “A total sum of Three Billion, Three Hundred and Twenty Three Million, Four Hundred and forty one thousand, five Hundred and Ninety Nine Naira, Sixteen Kobo (N3,323,441,599.16) only for the counterpart funds of 2020/2021 Intervention for UBE projects.”
“Let me at this juncture caution all those participating in the exercise, not to misappropriate the funds or abandon projects. As you are aware, government will not hesitate to deal decisively with any contractor who fails to execute the projects to a logical conclusion,” he warned.
In his keynote address, the commissioner, assured that “the successful implementation of the projects in Benue State will justify government’s huge investment in the UBE programme and attract more opportunities to the state”.
He appreciated UBEC for not relenting in supporting projects that will improve basic education as well as all the contractors for their interest in the development of education. He also commended the efforts of the Governor of the state, Samuel Ortom and SUBEB for their tireless efforts to give basic education a lift in the state.
Earlier, in a welcome address, Executive Chairman SUBEB, Comr. Joseph Utse, said the UBE programme has always been sustained in the state. He noted with delight that “since the administration of Governor Ortom, the board has accessed the UBE/Benue state matching grants from 2015 to 2019 amounting to 18.2 billion naira.
According to him, the projects to be executed are “a total of 46 Units of UBE standard blocks of 3 classrooms each with office, store and VIP toilets, 46 classroom blocks will be renovated. Also, 51 boreholes will be sunk in different schools in the state. Assorted plastic furniture totaling 23,739 sets are to be procured and distributed to schools where these infrastructures are lacking.”
He warned that the board will not “condone laxity and indolent attitude from any contractor as all successful bidders would be expected to speedily execute their projects within 6 weeks and should endeavour to follow designs and specifications in carrying out their projects.”
In separate goodwill messages, Benue State Co-ordinator, UBEC, Mr Emmanuel Baba and the acting Director General, Benue State Public Procurement Commission, Mrs Joy Sule, commended SUBEB for following due process and being fair to all interested bidders and called on successful contractors not to compromise on standard and quality as there will be strict monitoring of projects.
In a vote of thanks, Permanent Member 2 SUBEB, Barr Emoh Adoga, encouraged losers of the bid to brace up for better days ahead and charged all successful contractors to put their best foot forward while executing the projects.