By Festus Fifen
The Nigeria Federal Government on Thursday said the continued impasse between the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU and the government which. Has lasted for 187 days is due to the insistence by Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), that they be paid six months salaries of the strike period of negotiations between the Federal Government and the lecturers.
Speaking during the weekly
Special Ministerial briefing at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, organised by Presidential Communication Team, Education Minister Adamu Adamu said when the position was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari he outrightly rejected it
In his words, “all contentious issues between the government and ASUU had been settled except the quest for members’ salaries for the period of strike be paid, a demand that Buhari has flatly rejected.”
Adamu said that the President’s position had been communicated to the lecturers who are being awaited to call off the strike.
He stated that the rejection was to curb the excesses of trade unions that want to be paid for work not done.
Adamu further disclosed that the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment system proposed by ASUU has outscored the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) already in use by government and which the lecturers are kicking against.
He also said IPPIS has been updated to now accommodate payment of those on sabbatical.
“Just one thing that I was reminded even the current IPPIS has been made to accommodate sabbatical. I didn’t know this. Somebody just told me.”
Recall the lecturers had accused government of not considering the peculiarities of tertiary institutions in the IPPIS.
Adamu also debunked the report that UTAS had not been approved by government as the payment platform for University lecturers.
He said that the government has proposed a new salary to the unions which he said the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian University (SSANU), the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Allied Institutions (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists, (NAAT), have accepted in principle and are now consulting with their members with a view to call off the strike in the next one month.
He, however commended the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) for calling off its own strike.
Speaking more on the recurring strike that have crippled university system, the minister said it is important for the public to be aware that “the Federal Government is paying the salaries of every staff in its tertiary institutions, academic and non-academic staff, while these institutions are also in full control of their internally generated revenue (IGR).
“We are doing everything humanly possible to conclude on the negotiations. It is our hope that the outcome of the renegotiations will bring lasting industrial peace to our campuses. ”
He expressed confidence that the current interventions would yield the desired results and return students back to school.
Speaking of the amount of investment in the sector for the past 7 years, Adamu said a total of N6.3 Trillion has been expended on Education since the inception of the President Muhamadu Buhari Administration since 2015.
According to him, ” the implementation of the sector blueprint ” Education For Change- A ministerial Strategic Plan” is on course. In the last seven years we have undertaken massive physical infrastructure and ICT development at all levels of our educational system, established new institutions, Improved the carrying capacity of our institutions and expanded access to quality education at all levels ”
He said this was in addition to interventions from TETFund and UBEC amounting to N2.5 trillion and N553,134,967,498 respectively in capital investment.
“We must also note and appreciate the huge investments from the States and the private sector at all levels of our educational system. We will continue to improve on the implementation of the Ministerial Strategic Plan (MSP) all through to 2023 for the overall development of the education sector and the Nigerian nation.
“We will continue to create the necessary enabling environment to attract more and more private sector investment. We shall hand over a better education sector than we met it.”
Adamu said that the number of out of school children has dropped from an estimated 13 million to 6.9 million, with an impressive enrollment from online states of Kano, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto, Gombe, Bauchi, Adamawa, Taraba, Rivers and Ebonyi.
He linked the increased enrollment to activities of the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA).
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