Strike : FG Working On ASUU’s Demands, N92bn Has Been Paid So Far — Ngige

The minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige says the federal government is working on yardstick to fix the issues which incited the current strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

ASUU had, on February 14, declared a one-month warning strike.

Whilst speaking with state house correspondents on Tuesday thereafter a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the strike, Ngige said operations are in progress to resolve the issue.

The minister said the Nigerian government has so far paid over N92 billion as part of the implementation of the 2020 December agreement reached with the union.

“Why I said that the 2020 December agreement we had with ASUU is on course in terms of implementation, is that in that agreement, there is a line that says the federal government should pay N40 billion for earned academic allowances (EAA) for ASUU and other unions. That has been paid,” he said.

“N30 billion was also budgeted or was to be paid for revitalisation. That also was paid late last year.

“N22.127 billion was agreed also in that December agreement, to be paid from the supplementary budget as earned allowances for 2021. That money was also paid last year; it was put in the supplementary budget which was passed around June-July and the money was remitted. So, the government has done that.”

Ngige said the controversy encompassing the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform as preferred by university lecturers, as an alternative of the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), is being considered.

“UTAS, which the universities developed, has been subjected to test by the body responsible for that, Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), which ran a user acceptance test also called integrity and vulnerability test. But in their report, they pointed out to ASUU the areas of lapses in that platform, which will not make it usable as presently configured. But ASUU has written back to NITDA to say that some of those observations were not correct,” he said.

The minister also mentioned that arrangements have been concluded for the technical teams of NITDA and ASUU to meet and collectively conduct tests on the UTAS platform so as to find a solution to the gridlock.