Mr Nyesom Wike, Minister of Federal Capital Territory, has decided to increase operational charges for private schools in Abuja, leading to an imminent hike in school fees.
Under the new tax regime, schools will be billed based on the tuition fees paid by students and the number of enrolments.
A memo by the Head of Account, Department of Quality Assurance of the Education Secretariat, Mudi Muhammed, which was obtained by journalists on Monday, said the development would take effect from January 2024.
The memo was titled: “Review of private school operation charges in FCT,” and it read: “ Following the approval of the Honourable Minister of the FCT for a review of operational charges (annual charge, accreditation, application, re-accreditation, commencement and recognition) payable by private schools in the FCT.
“You are informed by this letter that the old rate of charges cease to be valid as of 31/12/2023 and the new rate of charges effective 1/1/2024.
“Under the new rate, each school is billed according to the tuition charged and the number of enrollments. As a consequence, each school has its own peculiar bill. You should also note that all application(s) are now N40,000.”
However, the National Association of Private School Owners in the FCT, in a letter written to the Education Secretariat, noted that such a tax review at a time when the Federal Government had promised to eliminate multiple taxes would only increase the cost of education beyond the reach of many parents, thus adding to the population of out-of-school children.
In the letter signed by its Chairperson, Ruqayah Agboola, NAPPS added that the tax review would further put pressure on private schools in the FCT as it would increase their running costs.
The association said, “Unfortunately, our members rejected the proposal in its entirety. They cited the hard economy, the huge bank loans outstanding in their books, the unpaid fees by many owing parents, the many levies payable to local government and other agencies, and more importantly payment of their teachers’ salaries, other staff as well as maintenance of our infrastructure.