The protracted strike action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Unversities (ASUU) may end soon as Federal Government has approved over N35.4 billion to meet their demands.
This came to light on Monday night in a resolution between the Federal Government and the leadership of ASUU at the Conference Hall, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Abuja, in which 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, Dr. Chris Ngige who disclosed this at the end of the meeting said the money was remitted on the 31st December, 2018. He also said that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved 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.
Ngige 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. To this end, the Minister explained that Federal Ministry of Education has been directed to liaise with National Pension Commission for the release of the permanent licence. Ngige also assured on the resolve of the Buhari administration to offer 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.
Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU President who confirmed the agreement however noted that some of the proposals from government requires further consultation with ASUU members.
He said “We have had an extensive session looking at all issues. There are issues that require further consultation at the level of our union before we can take a stand.”