JOINT Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has urged the House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance to grant it financial autonomy by removing it from the list of the ministries, departments and agencies in the annual budget of the federal government.
Registrar of JAMB, Ishaq Oloyede, made the appeal in Abuja on Wednesday, at the public hearing on the proposed 2023-2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, organised by the committee.
He however said that there were conditions to be met before JAMB could be removed from the annual budget.
According to him, one of the conditions is that the board should be allowed to upwardly review examination fees. The registrar recalled that JAMB did a downward review in 2017 after remitting N7.5bn revenue.
He disclosed that the amount charged for registration was reduced from N5,000 to N3,500. He said given the current economic realities, the government should allow JAMB to revert back to N5,000 and be autonomous.
According to him, no country except Finland charges as low as Nigeria. He stressed that no country funds such an examination body fully.
“There is nowhere that government funds this type of examination. They actually provide some support for the institution because students pay some token as registration fee; and from it, they bear the responsibility of salaries and provide some sucours.
“We are comfortable to be taken off the budget but there are conditions. One of the conditions, for example, when students registered in 2016, we collected N5,000 and that had been on for five years before I joined (JAMB).
“When we came in, we remitted N7.5bn. We felt it was too much and approached the federal government to reduce the fees. We have not added a kobo since.
“I believe we should revert to the N5000 we were charging. Given the inflation, if we charge N10,000 – I am just giving it as example – nobody will ask the federal government for one kobo.
“I am not aware of anywhere in the world, except maybe Finland— that charges as low as JAMB is charging. In Finland, we know that everything is free.
“We are hearing that you are planning to borrow billions. We are all going to sink at the end of the day. If there is any way anybody believes he can save this country, we should start doing that. The earlier we start the better for us,” he said
The committee’s deputy chairman, Saidu Abdulahi, said the lawmakers were concerned about the impact of Oloyede’s proposal on the disposable income of Nigerians. Abdulahi noted that reverting to N5,000 means transferring the burden of operating JAMB to parents and guardians.
The committee commended Oloyede for prudence and transparency in managing the affairs of JAMB.