ASUU: FG Grants Release of N30BN Earned Allowances

The Federal Government has granted the release of N30 billion as part payment of the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

This was finalized at the meeting which was held on Friday between the Federal Government and ASUU.

Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labor and Employment said ‘The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) was committed to release N30 billion on or before Nov. 6. The remaining N10 billion would be spread equally over the two tranches to be paid in May 2021 and February 2022 respectively. The OAGF should quickly conclude the verification of figures of EAA claims so as to clean up the figures from 2014 to 2020.

‘To this end, a committee would be constituted by NUC to develop a template that would capture all the agreed allowances in the 2009 Agreement for all the Unions in the Universities.’

‘Thereafter, the OAGF and the National University Commission (NUC) are to quickly conclude the verification of the EAA figures, so as to defray the payment from 2014 to 2020. ASUU is to work with the OAGF and NUC to achieve that by the end of December.’

He stated that there will be an activation of the process of mainstreaming the EEA into an annual budget using the agreed formula.

Ngige said the coordination of the activation process would be handled immediately by the NUC and Ministry of Education. The coordination will be concluded by Nov 6.

According to the Minister, the National Assembly has accepted the implementation process of mainstreaming. However, the amount ought to be sent in early by the Ministry of Education. Both parties also agreed on the issue of funding for the revitalization of public universities.

‘In spite of the economic downturn as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, government have offered N20 billion payable by the end of January 2021,’ he said.

‘The Minister of Education will follow up with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on its earlier Memo to Mr. President on sources of alternative funding for revitalization to facilitate the process of additional funding of the University system. This is with a view to reactivating the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of 2013 as agreed in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 2019,’ he said.

ASSU has agreed to take the offer to its members for consideration and respond with the feedback by October 21.

Ngige further revealed the agreement made by both parties pertaining Salary Shortfall. ASUU would confirm and report at the next meeting.

In line with the state universities, both parties accepted that the NUC Act will be amended in order to maximize its regulatory capacity.

Both parties agreed that ASSU will partner with NUC in this area and then involve the relevant Committee of the National Assembly. He also disclosed that the issue of payment of EAA to ASUU members at the University of Ilorin has been resolved.

Ngige disclosed that they were informed at the meeting that Mr. President has approved the visitation panel to Federal Universities. However, they have not been published. He stated that the Federal Ministry of Education is to ensure publishing within two weeks on or before October 29.

‘The meeting agreed that the Panel will be inaugurated latest by the end of November and the Panel will have a four to six weeks mandate to finish its work by Dec. 31st and submit two reports per university covering five years periods of 2011 – 2015 and 2016 – 2020,’ he said.

Ngige also revealed that government renegotiating team would be reconstituted on or before Oct. 31, and the renegotiation will be concluded on or before Dec. 31.

On the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the meeting was informed that ASUU has met its timeline regarding the first stage of the initial demonstration of the efficacy of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to government. The meeting also agreed that if UTAS passed all the integrity test, which consists the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), it would be adopted for the payment of the University staff.

However, there has not been an agreement on how the payment of ASUU members would be done during the transitional period of UTAS tests. The government again appealed to ASUU to enroll on IPPIS platform in view of the Presidential directive that all Federal Government employees should be paid via IPPIS.

It added that after the UTAS is certified digitally efficient and effective with accompanying security coverage, there would be a migration.

The ASUU maintained that given ASUU’s invention of UTAS, it should be exempted from IPPIS in the transition period.

In the area of withheld salaries of ASUU members, the meeting agreed that Government will pay as soon as the mode of payment is agreed upon by both parties.

There will be a reassembling on October 21 to receive ASUU’s feedback on the decision of her National Executive Council (NEC), in order to bring an end to the strike.

Peace Omenka

Photo Credit: Freedomonline

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