BY TEMI OHAKWE, ABUJA – The Federal Government on Friday finally conceded to the demand of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as it agreed for salaries of lecturers be paid on an older platform different from the Integrated Payroll Personnel information System (IPPIS) that was vehemently rejected by the Universities lecturers.
This is as the President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said that the leadership of the Union would consult with its branches and communicate its position to the government by next week.
Accordingly, the salaries of the lecturers from February to June 2020 would be paid through the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System.
Similarly, the Federal Government agreed to raise the Earned Academic Allowances to university staff from N30bn to N35bn and the revitalisation fund from N20bn to N25bn, which brings the total offer to N65 billion through the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who announced these after a meeting with the leadership of ASUU on Friday in Abuja, said the Universities Lecturers’ exemption from the IPPIS platform is pending to allow the university lecturers complete the development of its own payment platform – the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Ngige, who read a communique signed by all parties involved, further said that the funds would be shared by all the registered Trade Unions in the universities after providing necessary evidence of having earned the allowance.
The communique as read by Ngige further states; “Responding to the demand for immediate payment of 50% of the initial amount allotted for the purpose (revitalisation) which translates to N110 billion, the FG stated that this is not possible because of paucity of funds.
“The government however, offered to pay N25 billion based on the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 7th February, 2019 signed with ASUU or in the alternative, urged ASUU to accept N30 billion with the reduction in the earlier Earned Allowances. “Between the revitalisation and earned allowances, the FG has offered a cumulative sum of N65 billion.
“The Accountant – General of the Federation offered to immediately release N40 billion or in the alternative N35 billion to be shared by all the registered Trade Unions in the universities after providing the necessary evidence of having earned the allowance.
“The FG reiterated that her offer of N40 billion or 35 billion whichever is accepted by ASUU was for all the universities unions: ASUU had proposed that N40 billion be paid immediately for all unions ,” the communique said.
The breakthrough in negotiations is expected to end the eight-month strike embarked on by members of ASUU.
Before the new offer by government, ASUU had demanded N110 billion for revitalisation which should be paid in tranches.
The union also told the government that the N30 billion EAA was for only ASUU members, a position the government rejected, citing lack of funds to meet ASUU’s financial demands.