Short on funds

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THE Government is yet to pay out to schools K97 million in tuition fees for the final term last year, plus another K50 million for the first term this year.
Education Minister Nick Kuman said this was because of the increase in the number of enrollments caused by the TFF policy.
He said while the allocation in the national budget remained at K600 million, the number of students enrolled in schools was continuing to increase.
“When there is an increase in the enrollment rate, it is really hard for us to accommodate that K600 million. And it is all paid on a quarterly basis,” Kuman said.
Some schools have complained that they have not received their allocation last term and are pressing the education department to pay it.
Kuman said the ministry had to take into consideration “elementary all the way up to the boarding schools” in allocating was being made available.
“There are different unit price. You will see a difference in day school and boarding school. For boarding, we pay for boarding and tuition fees, meals and the up-keepings of the boarding facilities,” he said.
“We have paid what we need based on how much money has been paid to us. And we make sure that there is equitable distribution of the same level of funding right across based on (school) enrollments.
“Some enrollments are really high and the distribution is K600 million on a quarterly basis. We pay based on what is the total enrollment against the money we have.”
He said the department of education did not get to see the TFF money.
“The Treasury Department issues what they call a warrant. The warrant goes to the Finance Department. The Finance Department then generates the cheque for the he TFF,” he said.
“All we know is that there is a cheque being drawn and that cheque is deposited to Central Bank. Then the Central Bank advises the Education Department.
“The Central Bank then gets the money wired straight to the commercial bank.”
“In my experience in the ministry, I make sure that TFF is paid at the end of every year. The only problem that I know and I said it in Parliament is that from my own knowledge, K97 million has been owed to the school system in the country because of the underpayment.
“We do understand that there is a cash flow situation in the country and all these things contribute to this. But government’s priority on education and health is always number one.”