The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board has urged the House of Representatives Finance Committee to grant it financial autonomy by removing it from the list of ministries, departments and agencies in the federal government’s annual budget.
This is exactly as JAMB called for the reversal of the recent cut in research from N5,000 to N3,500.
JAMB Registrar Ishaq Oloyede appealed in Abuja on Wednesday at the public hearing on the proposed medium-term spending framework for 2023-2025 and the Fiscal Strategy Paper organized by the committee.
However, Oloyede noted that there are conditions that must be met before JAMB can be removed from the annual budget.
According to him, one of the conditions is that the Board may revise the examination fees upwards.
The Registrar recalled that JAMB undertook a downward review in 2017 after transferring N7.5bn revenue.
He noted that the amount charged for registration was reduced from N5,000 to N3,500. He said that given the current economic realities, the government should allow JAMB to return to N5,000 and be autonomous.
According to him, no country except Finland charges as low as Nigeria. He stressed that no country fully funds such an examination body.
Oloyede said: “Nowhere is the government funding this kind of research. They actually provide some support to the institution as students pay a token as an enrollment fee; and from there they take responsibility for salaries and offer some help.
“We like that we are taken off the budget, but there are conditions. For example, one of the conditions was that when students enrolled in 2016, we collected N5,000 and that was five years before I joined (JAMB).
“When we came in, we transferred N7.5 billion. We thought it was too much and approached the federal government to lower the fees. We haven’t added a kobo since then.
“I think we should go back to the N5000 we were charging. Given inflation, if we charge N10,000 – I’m just giving it as an example – no one is going to ask the federal government for one kobo.
“I don’t know of anywhere in the world except maybe Finland – which charges as low as JAMB is charging. In Finland we know that everything is free.
“We hear you plan to borrow billions. We’re all going to sink at the end of the day. If anyone thinks they can save this country, we should start with that. The sooner we start, the better for us.”
The commission’s vice-chair, Saidu Abdulahi, said lawmakers were concerned about the impact of Oloyede’s proposal on Nigerians’ disposable income.
Abdulahi noted that returning to N5,000 means that the burden of JAMB is transferred to parents and guardians.
Meanwhile, the committee praised Oloyede for prudence and transparency in managing JAMB’s affairs.