EducationNews

ASUU to review strike as FG raises allowances offer to 70b

The Federal Government on Friday increased its allowances offer to the Academic Staff Union of Universities to N70 billion.

The government pledged to pay N40 billion as the Earned Allowance and N30bn for the revitalization of the university system to bring the total to N70 billion.

The government also agreed to settle the arrears of salaries of the lecturers before December 4, 2020, but after due consultation with the government side.

The union leadership reached the agreement during a meeting with the government team led by the Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige, in Abuja.

The agreement may bring to an end ASUU’s eight-month strike which has grounded academic activities in the public universities since March.

The union is expected to report the new offer to its organs and then communicate its decision to government with the hope of calling the strike at a later date.

A source who was present at the meeting, told our reporter that ASUU insisted that the agreement should not be announced until it has been approved by its members.

The union pleaded with the government side not to make public details of the agreement in order not to anger its members.
The source said: “The federal government has raised its offer to ASUU to N70 billion in total for Earned Academic Allowance and revitalization. ASUU said it will take the offer back to its members and get back to us.
“They agreed not to let it (the agreement) out until they go and consult their people. ASUU gave the government December 4 to clear all the salary arrears.
“Government said it will pay the backlog using the old system but that going forward, at the end of the day the University Transparency and Accountability Solution must be ready for them to use.

“Government said it will not continue to use the old method to pay ASUU members. They are trying to get a timeframe within which UTAS can come onboard. Even UTAS has not been subjected to testing.”

Last week, the federal government accepted the demand by ASUU that its members  be exempted from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System pending the approval of their proposed payment system, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.

Before the government introduced IPPIS to the union last year, the universities lecturers were receiving their pay through the Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS).

After the meeting which lasted more than eight hours, Ngige said the parley was fruitful, adding that the government made a proposal to ASUU which it would take back to its members.

He said: “Many issues were discussed at the meeting including salary shortfall, the payment system and revitalization of the university system. I am positive that all the issues would be resolved at our next meeting.”

ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi confirmed what the minister said but declined further comment.

ASUU has been on strike to press home their demands for government to re-negotiate the 2009 Agreement, inaugurate of Visitation Panels to universities, abolish the proliferation of state universities and governance issues in them.

The union has also constantly resisted attempts to enroll its members on IPPIS.

-The NATION

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