An unprecedented hike in fees for Abuja-based private schools is imminent following the decision of the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, to hike operation charges of private schools in the capital city.
Under the new tax regime, each school will be billed according to tuition 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 our correspondent 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 by this letter informed 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 peculiar bill. You should also note that all application(s) are now N40,000.”
Meanwhile, 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.
“Our members, therefore, plead that you use your good office to effect a 50 per cent reduction in the existing annual dues to enable your office to recover the outstanding dues. We will partner with you to achieve this.”
Speaking with our correspondent on condition of anonymity, a member of the association said the association was planning to write the Minister of the FCT, Nyesom Wike, and also notify the Parents-Teachers Association of the newly imposed tax