TSA Bottleneck Suffocates Ibadan College Of Medicine, Inhibits Access To Research Funds- Otolorin, ICOMAA President 

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Prof. Emmanuel Otolorin, President of the Ibadan College of Medicine Alumni Association (ICOMAA) has lamented the danger posed by Treasury Single Account (TSA) to accessing third-party research funds by researchers.
Otolorin who made the revelation in an interview with newsmen in Ibadan maintained that the recurrent delays in locating third-party research funds and grant alerts, which probably go to someone in the CBN who fails to notify institutions and delays in the release of funds due to bureaucracy and funds going missing for long periods, pose a serious threat to tertiary education.
Otolorin also said the loss of school fees paid by foreign students and loss of financial credibility from international donors and the possible loss of global ranking positions due to the above challenges would further be the last straw that may break the camel’s back of the Nigerian tertiary education institutions.
He noted that students exited with unsatisfactory learning experiences and so became less committed to participating in alumni activities.
The president said institutions have been surviving through reliance on management fees or overhead charges from third-party research and program grants, donations from alumni and endowment funds to complement the gross underfunding reality by the government.
Otolorin said if the bottlenecks in TSA persist there are lurking dangers or fire on the mountain; which translates to researchers not being able to access third-party research and program grants.
According to him, principal investigators of multi-country projects cannot send funds to
other participating countries due to TSA.
He said “the bureaucracy in TSA has been negatively affecting the image of Nigeria and its tertiary education because donors are now asking for letters of assurance that funds will be released as at when due OR ELSE funds will not be sent.
“Without these third-party research funds, tertiary institutions will not have access to the 10 percent overhead charges used to maintain skeletal administrative services in the institutions.
“Some researchers now form Non-governmental Organisations  (NGOs) to warehouse their grants and avoid payment of administrative charges to the public tertiary institutions.
“Some researchers are leaving the country and moving their research grants to more friendly international institutions and countries.”
Otolotin expressed fear that if the trend continues, public tertiary institutions in Nigeria will begin to lose their ranking and gradually become irrelevant internationally.
“This is of great concern to me as President of the Ibadan College of Medicine Alumni Association (ICOMAA) Worldwide,” he said.
Otolorin, however, suggested that the Federal Government should remove third-party research funds from the Treasury Single (TSA) in the CBN and allow them to be deposited in Commercial Banks.
“This will allow for prompt notification of payment of the third-party funds, easier access to research funds as at when due and more efficient use of the researchers’ time: they can concentrate on carrying out their investigations without financial stress and keep to agreed project timelines,” he said.
The retired professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology said Nigeria’s international image as a leader of multi-country research projects will also be assured.
“Publications of findings from the research work will enhance the institution’s global ranking. The Ibadan College of Medicine ranks number one in Nigeria and fourth in Africa.
“We want to become number one in Africa and then climb up the ladder globally.
“Foreign students will enrol in our postgraduate programs and this will increase internally generated revenues (in foreign currency) for the College of Medicine and the University,” Otolorin said.
He, however, urged well-meaning Nigerians to support Ibadan College of Medicine, which is at risk of losing accreditation due to a shortage of bed space for clinical students as the government has no funds to construct additional residential blocks.
“ICOMAA Worldwide is accepting the challenge, but it is a very heavy lift. We need N2,5 billion to construct the needed blocks.
“Alumni all over the world have been responding to the best of their ability. However, I am appealing to wealthy Nigerians to come forward to assist us.
“We would love to name buildings after them such as Dangote Hall, Otedola Hall, Adenuga Hall and so on,” Otolorin said.

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