The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND), said the scheme may suspend foreign scholarship due to the exchange rate crisis.
According to Echono some of the taxes are paid to TETFund in foreign currencies at the account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria but when fees are to be paid for scholars abroad, the apex bank insists on TETFUND sourcing Forex by itself.
“We operate a system where our forex is being sold on our behalf at an official rate and we apply like anybody else to get it, sometimes it leads to additional cost.
“Currently as I speak, we are in consultations with all our stakeholders to suspend foreign training for a year or two.
“This is because of the recent exchange rate adjustments. We are unable to continue based on our disbursement guidelines.
“The money we allocated in naira cannot cover the dollar requirement for training. For those who are currently there, we now need more naira to pay for the dollar that is required for their annual fees. We are trying to put a hold,” he said.
He also revealed that most of the training will now be done locally through “our experienced, first-generation universities and other specialised universities” in the country.
“This way we can retain our resources in-house and cope with the change of foreign exchange variation,” he added.
Echono also said the federal government was owning TETFund N371.3 billion out of which it has repaid N46 billion so far.
Meanwhile, he has denied the allegations that TETFund mismanaged the N2.3tn fund, while Oluwole Oke, chairman of the committee, said the probe is not to witch-hunt, adding that the lawmakers are out to stop the misuse of public funds.