The Bursar, University of Lagos: Dr. Lateef Odekunle says the institution pays over #42 million to Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company while over #15 billion is expended on diesel on monthly basis to power UNILAG campuses.
Speaking with UNILAG Radio and Television crew in his office, Dr. Odekunle noted that the huge cost of power and other expenditures such as hostel maintenance have put the institution into dealing with financial disequilibrium which has put a lot of strain on its resources.
Dr. Odekunle however attributed the university’s financial solvency to the prudent management and creative application of the limited resources accruing to the institution from all sources.
He reiterated the continued commitment of the institution’s management towards fiscal transparency as a path towards sustained industrial harmony.
As the University’s financial officer, Dr. Odekunle placed on record that despite the massive expenditure which UNILAG deals with virtually every day, a paltry sum of #7 million is given as monthly overhead cost.
He also recalled the federal government policy which proscribes tuition fees in all federal universities, a situation which he said, has made UNILAG only open to charge for auxiliary services rendered even at subsidized rates.
Speaking on the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and how it affects UNILAG finances, Dr. Odekunle lauded the wisdom behind the policy and likened the system to a mere shift from one bank to another.
He however expressed concerns over how the TSA operations have affected accounts reconciliation and other funds especially meant for endowments.
On alleged delays in payment of claims and meeting other financial obligations to the workforce, the UNILAG bursar stated unequivocally that no claim processing is allowed to exceed 30 days and affirmed that any delay in the process could only be traceable to improper documentation which the UNILAG bursary department cannot be held responsible for.
Dr. Odekunle also spoke on the UNILAG philosophy of infrastructural management during which he hinted that the process to release take off funds for the construction of the new UNILAG library is nearing completion.
The project, according to him, is at an estimated cost of #3.2 billion out of which the federal government through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) will pay #1.9 billion while UNILAG is to pay a counterpart fund of #1.3 billion.
Dr. Odekunle gave thumbs up to the federal government for making 52 percent of its payment readily available to the institution.
Speaking on capacity building for bursary staff, the UNILAG chief financial officer placed on record that his department can boast of not less than 42 chartered accountants as of date, and the bursary system has fully transited into paperless while all staff are exposed to monthly seminars so as to further improve their efficiency in service delivery.
Dr. Odekunle also assured that with the UNILAG scholars’ hostel nearing completion, the institution will soon surmount the challenge of accommodation for its prospective partners, resource persons, researchers and students from other countries just as he placed on record, the presence of some foreign students who are on ECOWAS sponsorship on the UNILAG campus, an achievement which he said, further emphasised UNILAG as the University of first choice and the Nation’s pride.