ASUU Strike on Course
The Federal Government has approved over N35.4 billion for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). This was the outcome of a resolution reached on Monday night between the FG and the leadership of ASUU at the Conference Hall, Ministry of
Labour and Employment, Abuja.
It further gives the impression that academic activities may resume in
public universities next week. The government also announced that Federal Ministry of Finance and Accountant General of the Federation have confirmed payment of N15.389.940,335.71 billion to accommodate payment of shortfall in all institutions that are Presidential Initiative of Continuous Audit (PICA) varied.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who disclosed this at the end of the meeting said the money was remitted on the 31st December 2018. He said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the payment of N20 billion for payment of outstanding arrears of the 2009 and 2012 Earned Academic Allowances to the already verified university system.
ASUU & GOVT Officials in a Meeting
“The money is being worked on and will be released to ASUU when the process is completed,” he said. Ngige reiterated the government’s resolve to grant a permanent licence to ASUU to operate the National University Pension Fund Administrator Company (NUPENCO) that will manage the contributory pension of public universities.
Consequently, the Minister explained that the Federal Ministry of Education has been directed to liaise with the National Pension Commission for the release of the permanent licence. Ngige also assured on the resolve of the Buhari administration to offer undisclosed amount from the N220 billion annual revitalisation fund for universities which was agreed during President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration but was reneged on.
He said the government was going to look for funds and that a token which he did not disclose has been offered to the union to demonstrate government as good faith. According to him, ASUU is expected to return back to Government between Wednesday, 9th or Thursday, 10th January 2019 to sign relevant agreements reached by the parties.
In his reactions, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, confirmed the agreement and noted that some of the proposals from government require further consultation with ASUU members. Ogunyemi said: “We have had an extensive session looking at all issues. There are issues that require further consultation at the level of our union before we can take a stand”.