The Federal Government has approved over N35.4 billion for the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). It said this was part of its efforts to ensure that the strike end by next week.
In a resolution reached Monday night with the leadership of ASUU at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Abuja, the government 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 who disclosed this at the end of the meeting said the money was remitted on the 31st December, 2018.
Ngige was quoted by Vanguard Newspaper as saying that 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.
“The money is being worked on and will be released to ASUU when the process is completed,” he said.
He reiterated government’s resolve to grant 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 Federal Ministry of Education has been directed to liaise with National Pension Commission for the release of the permanent licence.
EduCeleb.com recalls that the union had been on strike since 4th November over issues related to the funding and staff welfare in universities. Since then, seven meetings have been held towards ending the strike.
At the latest meeting, Ngige assured Nigerians on the resolve of the Buhari administration to offer an 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 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.
While speaking Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President who confirmed the agreement however noted that some of the proposals from government required further consultation with ASUU members.
In his words, “We have had an extensive session looking at all the issues and just like the minister said , there are issues that will require further consultations at the level of our union before we can make any pronouncement on our stand .
“The Federal Government has promised to reach us as soon as possible with a proposal on those areas where further consultation is needed. The strike continues.
“We are still going for consultation . What we discussed is not about us but our people . I am not sure that there is an end in sight.”