By Zika Bobby

Nigerian politician, Owolabi Salis, has advocated the adoption of EDUBONDS system in financing tertiary education in Nigeria.

The US-based lawyer, who, in 2019, contested governorship in Lagos State on the platform of Alliance For Democracy, said “EDUBONDS system is a fiscal policy (design and laws) for financing education and retaining the educated citizens in the system to help develop the nation.

“EDUFIN is an equity concept of making sure education reaches everybody, including the underprivileged. It is a creative design of a highly efficient and effective financial mechanism which draws resources from diverse sources to enhance the educational capacity of the citizens.

“It is designed for the rich and poor,and focused on three operational key words: ‘Wish, Capacity and Access (WCA) which entails that a student who wishes to be educated in a particular field, and possesses the capacity to undergo the desired field of study should have access to funds.

“The project is based on the empirical self-evident fact that the most valuable security in the world is knowledge; it is the means with which we transform vision into values.

“And because it is the most valuable treasure ever conceivable, it should be well financed, sustained, intensified, nurtured and elevated to greater heights than ever, for self-fulfilment and benefit of the larger humanity. The future of a country depends strongly on how its education is managed and administered.

“Education is the means for programming the citizens to optimise his latent talents for self-fulfilment and ultimately for the development of the larger society.

“This is why most governments take strong interest in educating their citizens, which has been a great burden on their budgets. EDUBOBDS OR EDUFIN, therefore, provides an arrangement for improving the education economy and the autonomy of self-financing while removing undue strain on the government, the student and parents.

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“It is all about bringing students under equal financial probabilities. EDUFIN is designed with problems of lack of education in mind, and the menace it constitutes to man and the larger society, and is, therefore, actuated by the vision to usher a progressive change for the better.

“It makes the student approach the financial market to get funds that can only be used for the right purpose -education. The student will use his/her FUTURE as security backed up by life insurance against death or disability. It is in this sense that it could be described as a futuristic market.

“It enables children of the poor and the rich alike, to have quality education without unnecessary strain on the parents, the government, and the students.

“EDUFIN is competitive and democratic in design, and will bring discipline and an end to student unrest and cultism because of the sense of responsibility and higher commitment on the part of the student, arising from non-governmental dependence. It is fair to the government, fair to the students, and fair to the parents. It is an attempt to improve family values and is easy to administer. The  creative and unique design is one of the best ways to improve Nigeria’s education economy.

“The scheme which was developed in 1967 during the former military president, Ibrahim Babangida era, is the most effective means to make education sustainable. Repayment enforcement is easy, especially with the advent of NIN and BIVAS and the attachment of repayment to the issuing and renewing of passports, coupled with employers’ discretion to make monthly withdrawals.”

“Loans or bonds also bear interest rates to encourage repayment. To hedge against inflation, the loan would be in units and units to the value of naira to be determined yearly or monthly by the CBN.”

Salis also suggested the utilisation of EMERFUND/FIREFIN as the most effective option to help in financing emergency operations.

According to him, “EMERFUND is a fiscal policy (design and laws) for financing emergency operations, including fire, medical, and police services. This is a simple fiscal policy arrangement involving identifying operations and transactions requiring or that may require emergency attention. Charges are elastic.”