The Universal Basic Education Commission, UBEC, and the Benue State Government have released 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.
Commissioner of Education, Hon. Saawuan Tarnongu, PhD, announced this Wednesday while presenting a keynote address during the occasion of financial bids opening for 2020/2021 contracts held at the headquarters of the State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, in Makurdi, the Benue State Capital.
Giving the breakdown of the funds released, Dr Tarnongu said UBEC/Benue State Government have equally released the sum of (N1,430,148,270.20) One Billion, Four Hundred and Thirty Million, One Hundred and Forty Eight Thousand, Two Hundred and Seventy Naira, Twenty Kobo only as Matching grant for the 2020 Intervention while One Billion, Eight Hundred and Ninety Three Million, Two Hundred and Ninety Three Thousand, Three Hundred and Twenty Eight Naira, Ninety Six Kobo (N1,893,293,328.96) only has been released by both UBEC and Benue State Government.
The Commissioner who declared the bids open charged officials of SUBEB to ensure constant monitoring of projects to ensure that the projects are executed according to specifications.
He commended UBEC for supporting projects for improvement of Basic Education in Benue State through prompt release of matching grant. He also appreciated UNICEF, GPE, World Bank and other critical stakeholders for their sustained support to the UBE programme in the State.
While acknowledging the efforts of Benue SUBEB for organizing the bids opening ceremony to ensure a transparent process in the execution of projects, Dr Tarnongu assured the Board that the state government would continue to provide the necessary support for efficient basic education service delivery for the benefit of the Benue Child.
Earlier in a welcome address, SUBEB Executive Chairman, Comrade Joseph Utse, said the 2020/2021 intervention fund will be used to execute projects as follows: construction of 46 Units of UBE Standard Blocks of 3 Classrooms each with office, store and VIP toilets , renovation of 46 classroom blocks, drilling of 51 Boreholes in different schools in the state and procurement of 23,739 sets of plastic seats and desk to be distributed to schools where these infrastructures are lacking.
Comrade Utse who cautioned Contractors against laxity and indolent attitude said they will be expected to speedily execute their projects within 6 weeks and should endeavour to follow designs and specifications in carrying out their projects.
The Executive Chairman revealed that Benue SUBEB has accessed the UBE/Benue State Matching Grants from 2015 to 2019 amounting to N18.2 Billion under Governor Ortom administration and the amount has been utilized judiciously.
According to him, over 288 blocks of classrooms have been constructed and 423 blocks renovated in addition to thousands of school furniture and other necessary infrastructural and instructional materials like boreholes, toilets facilities and text books that have been provided for schools. He added that Teachers have been trained and re-trained in their thousands.
In his remarks, State UBEC Coordinator, Mr Bala Emmanuel, acknowledged that SUBEB has been following due process in utilizing resources and urged the board to maintain its integrity, transparency and accountability. He also charged the contractors to ensure standard in their jobs.
On her part, SUBEB Permanent Member 2, Barr Emoh Adoga, in a vote of thanks, appreciated UBEC and the Benue State Government under Governor Samuel Ortom for their relentless support. She described the bidding process as “exceptionally transparent” and urged those who would be selected as contractors on merit to make the Board proud.
Acting DG, Benue State Public Procurement Commission, Mrs Joy Sule, in her remark charged the potential contractors to avoid cutting corners, assuring that the Commission will continue to observe due process and transparency in the award of contracts.
In separate comments, the MD/CEO of Somegree Ventures Ltd, Hon. Stephen Imborvungu who responded on behalf of bidders, and the Bids Observer, Mr Amanyi Wilson expressed satisfaction with the process, saying it was fair.
Highpoint of the event was symbolic opening of bids by the Commissioner of Education, Dr Saawuan Tarnongu, SUBEB Executive Chairman, Comrade Joseph Utse and UBEC State Coordinator, Mr Emmanuel Bala.