The Federal Government has approved the disbursement of N18 billion as take-off grant for four new universities.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr Sunday Echono, disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja on Monday.
According to Echono, the take-off grant came after the promise made by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to establish Universities of Technology and Health Sciences in Nigeria during his campaign in 2015.
Echono said, “You will recall that when the President sought the people’s mandate for the office of the President in 2015, he promised to establish an apex national institute of technology in Abuja with six satellite universities of technology in each of the six geo-political zones.
“After a comprehensive review of the policy by key stakeholders in the education sector, it was resolved that the four existing universities of technology located in Yola, Akure, Owerri and Minna be upgraded while two additional universities of technology to be located in Jigawa and Akwa-Ibom states would be established for the purpose.
“Similarly, a National Institute of Technology shall be established in Abuja to serve essentially as a postgraduate centre devoted to research and innovation, drawing the best graduates from the six Universities of Technology as well as other graduates from reputable universities within and outside.
Echono added that the Federal Government had approved the plans of establishing two new Universities of Health, Nutrition and Medical Sciences to be located in Bauchi and Osun State.
He added, “With the report of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, it was noticed that the pandemic exposed the weak institutional capacity of disease control and surveillance in the country.
“With the recent establishment of the only Federal University of Health and the huge gap in doctor-patient ratio as well as in medical research, government recognised the compelling need to establish two other specialised Universities of Health, Nutrition and Medical Sciences to be located at Azare, Bauchi State and Ila Orangun, Osun State.
“To ensure the early take-off of these institutions, the President approved a take-off grant of N4 billion each for the Universities of Technology and N5 billion each for the University of Health Sciences.’
Echono said while the new universities will be established in 2021, the upgrade of existing Universities of Technology and the establishment of the National Institute of Technology will come up In 2022.