The federal government has stated that it has paid lecturers N30 billion Revitalisation Fund and N22.5 billion Earned Academic Allowance, stressing that it has made lot of progress in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding reached with the university workers.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, who spoke to THISDAY at the weekend on the update of government’s engagement with ASUU, said that he had received confirmation from the Federal Ministry of Finance that funds had been released to the universities for the revitalisation of infrastructure and payment of earned allowances.
“By yesterday, (Friday) the Accountant General’s Office and the Funds Office of the Federal Ministry of Finance told me that they paid the Earned Allowances to the 38 federal universities and by today (Saturday) all the affected universities would have gotten their monies for workers.
“I have forwarded the position to the ASUU leadership,” he said.
Ngige also said that the contentious issue of the salary payment platform, University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) was being addressed, revealing that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has submitted its report to government.
He said: “Just today again, NITDA submitted its report on the assessment conducted on UTAS and it has been forwarded to the Ministry of Finance, Accountant General’s Office and IPPIS Office so that they will look at it and sort out other details. Copies of the report have also been forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Education and National Universities Commission (NUC)”.
On whether the report on UTAS was a positive one, the minister said it scored over 50 per cent of the points used in the evaluation, adding that it is work- in-progress.
“Out of the 500 test points that were used in rating it, we are talking about 50 per cent success rate. So, it’s work-in-progress. The Ministry of Finance and Accountant General’s Office are to study the report and areas that they are not satisfied they will let us know and we’ll get back to NITDA because we have a combined team with the NUC and IPPIS Office,” Ngige added.
Reacting to the congresses being planned by ASUU to mobilise its various branches, Ngige said that the leadership of the union would be expected to inform its organs of the latest progress made both in release of payment for Earned Allowances and Revitalisation Fund.
“They will tell them what happened. The important thing is that we have kept our promise that the N30 billion revitalisation fund has been paid and that N22.5 billion Earned Allowances have also been paid. So, we look forward to tackling other remaining areas like errors in computation of salaries of some of the staff and of course the question of renegotiation of agreements, which is being handled with the Federal Ministry of Education.”
Ngige said that the issue of renegotiation of past agreements was still an internal discussion between the Ministry of Education and ASUU as well as other unions in the tertiary institutions.