SWITZERLAND, MAY 21 – African billionaire and founder of indigenous oil giant, Aiteo, Benedict Peters and Nigerian front-line businessman and founder of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia will join Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson and other dignitaries for the commissioning of the state’s Education Trust Fund(ETF) on Friday, May 24.
The Bayelsa State government will formally launch the state’s ETF, more than two years after Governor Seriake Dickson signed into law the bill establishing the fund following its passage by the state House of Assembly.
Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, disclosed this in a statement he made available to reporters in Yenagoa on Sunday.
Dickson had on March 31, 2017, signed the education trust fund bill into law, which made it compulsory for different categories of workers, including contractors and civil servants in Bayelsa, to pay education levies.
In June 2017, he inaugurated a 14-member board of the education trust fund chaired by a former Minister of Science and Technology, Turner Isoun.
The board went to work and in February 2018, presented its first annual report to the governor, declaring a receipt of about N800 million out of which it spent N300 million, leaving a balance of N500 million.
The board had yet to present its second annual report.
Iworiso-Markson explained in the statement that the education trust fund was part of the government’s action plan to sustain the huge investment it had made in the education sector.
He said that apart from Ovia and Peters, other corporate launchers expected at the formal launch were the multinational oil companies operating in Bayelsa. Both Ovia and Peters have made extensive contributions to various social causes across the country.
The information and orientation commissioner noted that the state used to be ranked at the bottom of external examinations before the Dickson administration came on board in 2012, stressing that the state was now among the top five leading states in the country.
He said, “We have also drastically reduce the number of out-of-school children by 90 percent. Our model boarding schools, which today has over 10,000 students, mostly from poor indigent families on full government scholarships, is also one of the revolution that has happened in that sector.
“All of these need to be sustained and the Education Trust Fund will take care of that”.