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The Federal Government has paid $4m counterpart funding for the 40 Nigerian doctorate scholars who won PhD scholarship grants under the Partnership for Science, Engineering and Technology Regional Scholarship Innovation Fund, and were left stranded due to the government’s initial failure to pay.
The PUNCH reports that the Federal Government defaulted on the payment of the PASET scholarship grants for two sessions.
The PASET-Regional Scholarship Innovation Fund is funded by African governments, Korea and the World Bank.
The initiative is mainly for PhD studies in African host universities and selected international partner institutions.
It is coordinated by the government of Kenya and scholarship priority is given to academics in African universities to develop their capacity when they return to their country.
The PUNCH reports that the Nigerian government, through the National Universities Commission, has always been responsible for reaching out to interested scholars.
Our correspondent reliably gathered that though the scholars under the third set were able to get into the programme, they are, however, currently stuck midway as the government failed to release the remaining funds to complete their studies, while the scholars in the fourth set have not been able to resume.
Though the National Universities Commission did not respond to inquiries by our correspondents on the plans to ensure that the counterpart fund is paid, The PUNCH published the story on July 20, 2022.
However, speaking with our correspondents on Monday morning, one of the scholars who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, “Yes, the government has paid the counterpart funding. We are grateful to The PUNCH newspaper for helping us to amplify our story.”
Another scholar said, “Yes, the government has paid the $4m for the counterpart fund. We will be free to resume alongside our colleagues from other countries.”
Yet another scholar said, “We have been notified that the issues have been resolved and we are to join in the online orientation programme.”
When our correspondent contacted the NUC executive secretary, Professor Abubakar Rasheed to find out why the government failed to make the payment on time, calls and texts sent to his contact were unanswered at the time of filing this report.