‘University of Agriculture on the verge of bankruptcy’
May 21, 2013
FAISALABAD: University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) Vice Chancellor Iqrar Ahmad on Saturday said that the university was on the verge of bankruptcy.
He was addressing a function held to welcome newly elected members of parliament (MP) from the city. He requested government officials and the MPs-elect to help steer the university out of financial problems.
Dr Ahmad said the UAF had the distinction of being second on the Higher Education Commission’s list of 140 public and private universities in the country, 33rd among the National Taiwan University’s ranking of top universities in Asia Pacific, and 142nd in the QS World University Rankings. However, the university faced a financial crisis due to the recurring expenses, he said.
Dr Ahmed said that the university needed at least Rs2.6 billion annually, while the HEC only provided 50 percent of the amount.
“The university has divert funds from other accounts. It has plunged into a debt spiral that has crippled it financially and affected academic activities,” he said.
The HEC criteria for financial allocation did not take into account the strength of the student body, achievements and benefits of research to the country, he said.
“The raising of faculty salaries every year has adversely affected the university’s financial base. The UAF has no other sources of funds to meet these hikes in salaries and benefits,” he said.
The university had the infrastructure meant for 3,000 students, but it had 12,000 students, he said.
Dr Ahmed spoke about possible national food security crisis that the university was trying to avert. “We need to train at least 30,000 students to meet these challenges. If we do not take steps on war footing we might face a famine,” he said.
In 2015, Pakistan will have 200 million mouths to feed and the expected demand for wheat would be 29.06 million tons, he said. This could only be met through government intervention and optimal provision of irrigation water, seeds and fertiliser. The government would have to purchase all the wheat produced to be able to bridge the demand-supply gap, he said.
“The national wheat yield lies stagnant at 25 million tonnes. If steps aren’t taken to adopt the latest technology, the country may face a food crisis,” he said.
“Some 1.2 million tube wells in the country have been installed for this purpose but the water resources are shrinking,” he said. The Express Tribune