Rivers State University and the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) provide a niche for starting entrepreneurial businesses to weather the current economic downturn.
It was learned that Rivers State University established thriving cattle, pig, bird and fish farms, among other things, while management also revitalized its water factory to increase internally generated income (IGR).
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing industrial action by the Academic Union of Universities (ASUU) that forced most universities across the country to close, Rivers State University continues to operate to this day.
Governor Nyesom Wike, who is visiting the institution, said the development will help the institution weather the storm and cleared N16.6b for upgrading facilities at the institution.
A breakdown of the funds shows that N9 billion was earmarked for a start-up grant to set up the new locations in the councils of Ahoada, Emohua and Etche, while N3b was earmarked for the construction of faculty buildings for each of the three new locations, hostels, Libraries, auditorium and also other needs that may arise.
The Guardian investigation also found that bids for the above projects have been completed and local contractors have moved.
Also, N7.6b has been released to allow the university’s College of Medical Sciences to establish the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, the Faculty of Clinical Sciences, and the Pathology Building.
The institution’s PR officer (PRO), Dr. Dike Harcourt-Whyte said of the survival of the university: “It was not easy to survive the current economic situation in the country, but our Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nlerum Okogbule is a prudent person and has done everything possible to ensure that the university is safe remains afloat. “
The results showed that UNIPORT’s IGR has declined since the COVID-19 pandemic, even though the federal government’s allocation was insignificant compared to spending on utility bills, maintenance, impression for department heads, and payments to various contractors, among other things.
It was also learned that the ongoing ASUU strike further affected the IGR as there were no legal payments from new students, which were exacerbated by the nearly year-long under-admission of new students.
But things are supposed to be getting better and the system seemed to stabilize as the institution is currently accepting new students and payments are gradually coming in.
The incumbent Vice Chancellor, Prof. Stepen Okodudu, declined to be interviewed, but it was found that many things were being done to generate income for the university.