The meeting between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) yesterday ended in deadlock as both parties couldn’t reach an agreement. This was disclosed by Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, at the end of a closed-door meeting.
According to him, there are three issues and these include the revitalisation fund where the government offered ASUU N20 billion, on good faith based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into in 2013 as a result of the renegotiation with the then government in 2009 which this present government is still committed to.
“This government is not against revitalisation but this government says that because of the dare economic situation due to COV1D-19, we cannot really pay in the N110 billion which they are demanding for revitalisation.
“We offered N20 billion as revitalization fund. On Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), the government offered N30 billion to all the unions in the universities, making it N50 billion altogether. “ASUU is saying that the N30 billion should be for lecturers alone, irrespective of the fact that there are three other unions. So there is a little problem there. We do not have any money to offer apart from this N30 billion,” he said.
He further disclosed that the cardinal issue was the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) versus the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS). Ngige added that ASUU had submitted its document on UTAS for onward submission to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for an integrity test.
“This test should be conducted without fear or favour and as early as possible. So today, they have submitted the document for onward transmission to NITDA. “One other issue that has arisen is the issue of the transition period. How do ASUU get the Earned Academic Allowances that is due to them and any other entitlement that government wants to pay them,” he said.
He, stated that ASUU wanted an exemption from IPPIS but IPPIS is the only government-approved payment platform and that is the main issue at the moment.
He also said that both parties will have to go back to their principals; adding that ASUU will receive information on the irreducible minimum of what the Federal Government has to offer. “The government side will meet on Friday and after that, they will communicate to ASUU and in communicating them, if there is a need for a meeting, a date will be fixed for it,” he said. Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President said that the union would wait for the Federal Government to meet on Friday and get back to the union by next week.