DIVERSIFICATION OF ECONOMY: NECO targets N1.2 billion remittance by Dec 2018, * says Corruption Allegations unfounded.
By Festus Fifen.
The Registrar of National Examination Council, NECO, Prof. Charles Uwakwe has disclosed that the Council is targeting remittance of N1.2 billion to the federation account by December 2018.
Uwakwe who also stated that the Council has improved from N320 million remittance to more than N500 million, added that judicious management of scarce resources has been the guiding principle of the Council overtime.
Prof. Uwakwe, who spoke to a section of the media in Abuja while reacting to corruption allegations in some quarters stressed that the Council’s books and records are open to scrutiny.
The NECO Boss While describing the N15 billion corruption allegation as baseless and fallacious, emphasized that the number of candidates who sat for NECO exams and how much the Council make is in the public domain.
In his words, “these are rumours that are baseless and I’m wondering where the allegations are coming from. To set the record straight we are not running independently in terms of our budgeting. We are under strict guidance by the Ministry and National Assembly.
“Every year we provide information as to what we generate and what our expenditure is. We go to defend all these and therefore if somebody says fifty naira is missing, it’s practically impossible and totally fallacious. The number of candidates who sat for our exams and how much we make is in the public domain
“In conducting our exams, we pay apprentice, people in the community to conduct the exams. We have four exams that we conduct. It is professionally and unacceptable for someone to insinuate that there is embezzlement of funds without facts. The books are there, the records are there.
“We just returned from the defense of our budget in the National Assembly and they have said there is need for us to increase our remittance to the federation account which we have been working on.
“We have improved from N320 million to more than N500 million. We estimate that by next exam we should be able to remit to the federation account about N1.2 billion,” he stated.
While giving a brief overview on his achievements since assuming office in NECO, Prof. Uwakwe said ” We have done a lot of self assessment and searching as we provide this services. I’m in touch with all my state officers and zonal coordinators regularly and consistently. I do a lot of frequent travels but the best is on the spot assessment of the situation to the best of our ability. So, essentially, it has been very rewarding if you consider the number of examinations we take within the limit of our resources.
” We have a mandate to do this therefore, we should be managing the resources that we have very prudently and there is also a bit of pressure on us to be remitting to federation account which we are very cognizant of. We are making efforts to ensure that we continue to improve in that aspect and therefore prudent management of resources that we have must be our guiding principle.
” Before I came to NECO the issue of ethics weren’t there. That of professionalism, punctuality, zero tolerance for impunity, integrity and so on. These are ethics that I brought on board when I assumed office. So, essentially this ethics are what we brought on board to be able to run the system better and by my assessment it is really better.”
Speaking on illegal recruitment as alleged in some quarter. Prof. Uwakwe said nothing of such has ever happened in the council.
” There has never been illegal recruitment by the council. All we have done by way of replacement we followed due process with clearance from both the Ministry of Education, Federal Character Commission and Head of Service. We have documented evidence of waivers and approval.”
Prof. Uwakwe also reacted to some internal crises in the council which he said is being well managed.
” The issues are with some union members. I have an open door policy and I relate well with unions. But for some strange reasons a few of them have over stepped their bounds making communication directly to the Ministry without consulting with the council. Rather than settling union issues internally they have written all kinds of petitions that can be addressed internally. What we are saying is that they should not run a parallel government because they belong to a union. I have privileged information on my staff that guides my decisions on posting. The best approach is to work with the council.”
Uwakwe, therefore called on well-meaning Nigerians and civil society groups to approach the Council for clarification when in doubts as the council practices open-door policy.