The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has requested the House of Representatives Committee on Finance to remove it from annual budgets and grant it total autonomy. The Registrar of JAMB, Ishaq Oloyede, made the request on Wednesday while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance in Abuja. The committee is currently holding a public hearing on the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) ahead of the 2023 budget presentation by the executive arm. Mr Oloyede, a professor, however, said there are conditions that should precede JAMB removal from the annual budgets. He said one of the conditions is that JAMB should be allowed to review the examination fee upward. He explained that the board decided to review the fees downward in 2017 after remitting N7.5 billion. He stated that the amount charged for registration fees was reduced from N5,000 to N3,500. Mr Oleyede said given the current economic realities, the federal government should allow JAMB to revert to N5,000 and be autonomous.
He claimed that no country, except Finland—charges as low as Nigeria, noting 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 fees and from it, they bear the responsibility of salaries and provide some succours.
“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. When we came in, we remitted N7.5 billion. 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 an 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 Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Saidu Abdulahi (APC, Niger), said the lawmakers are concerned about the impact on the disposable income of Nigerians. Mr Abdulahi argued that reverting to N5,000 means transferring the burden of operating the board to parents and guardians. The committee, however, commended Mr Oloyede for prudence and transparency in managing the affairs of JAMB.