According to the minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngigi, who is representing the Nigerian government in their dialogue with ASUU, has disclosed that the Nigerian government can not afford the N110bn revitalization fund.
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Once again, the meeting between the Nigerian federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU) over the poor funding of Universities and the controversy surrounding the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, payment platform, ended without both parties reaching any tangible agreement.
Latest ASUU Strike Update Today.
The Nigerian federal government disclosed that it cannot afford the N110 billion demanded by the ASUU for funding of revitalization of federal universities in the nation.
After the meeting ended, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige disclosed to journalists waiting outside to hear the outcome that the government cannot meet the demand of ASUU because of the damaging effects of COVID-19 on the Nigerian economy.
The Senator further said that the Federal Government has offered ASUU, two billion Naira (N20 billion) for revitalization and N30 billion for Earned Academic Allowances, making it a total of fifty billion Naira (N50 Billion Naira only).
Senator Chris Ngige further said that the Buhari-led government has made all these offers to show its commitment towards the resolution of the prolonged ASUU strike.
He said and I quote below:
“There are three issues that ASUU wants the federal government to resolve before calling off the strike. These includes the revitalization fund where the government offered ASUU N20 billion as a sign of good faith based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) they entered into with then federal government 2013, as a result of the renegotiation they had with the government in 2009. This present government is still committed to seeing that union calls off the strike.”
“This government is very much interested in ensuring that all academic activities commence as soon as possible, and we are certainly not against revitalization of federal Universities. But this government says that because of the dire economic situation and the horror of COVID-19 pandemic on the economy, we cannot really pay the N110 billion which they are demanding for revitalization.
“However, we’ve so far, offered to pay the sum of N20 billion as revitalization fund. On Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), the government has also tabled an offer of N30 billion to all the unions in the universities, making it a total of N50 billion.
“But the ASUU board disagreed, saying that the N30 billion funds should be for lecturers alone, irrespective of the fact that there are three other unions. So there is a little problem there. We don’t have any money to offer apart from this N30 billion we’ve put on the table.
“Another cardinal issue is the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) versus IPPIS. Today ASUU submitted their document on UTAS for onward submission to National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). As most of you are aware, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, had approved that NITDA gets their system (UTAS) and subject it to integrity test. This test should be conducted without fear or favor and as early as possible. So today they have submitted the document for onward transmission to NITDA.”
The senator said “So far, this is the issue and where the meeting today ended. ASUU and me will be returning back to our principals and they will receive via me the best offer the federal government can release to them immediately.
The senator finally said that the federal government will be meeting on Friday, to discuss the ASUU requirements, and if there is any development or a need to meet with the ASUU body, a date will be fixed and communicated to the Nigerian public.