To end the lingering crisis in the nation’s universities, the Federal Government has agreed to pay the salaries of members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) using a different mode of payment other than the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, said this while addressing reporters at the end of a closed door meeting with ASUU leadership yesterday in Abuja.
Ngige said that government would look into the issue of “No-work-no-pay” sanctioned by the government with a view to approve the payment of the withheld salaries.
“The meeting has agreed that the mode of payment applied for the payment of those that had not been captured in the IPPIS platform between the month of February and June 2020 be adopted for the purpose of payment during this transition period.
“In addition, the meeting agreed that a suitable template that will address all the anomalies identified in the previous processes should be handled by the Accountant General of the Federation, Executive Secretary of NUC and the Accounting Officers (Vice Chancellors),” he said.
Ngige said that government had agreed to ASUU’s demand to pay their members salary arrears from February to June, using the old salary payment platform, GIFIMS.
The minister added that the demand for the immediate payment of 50 per cent of the initial amount allotted for the purpose of revitalising public universities, which translates to N110 billion, would not be feasible due to paucity of funds.
He said that government had offered to pay N25 billion based on the Memorandum of Action (MOA) of February 7, 2019 signed with ASUU, or in the alternative, urged ASUU to accept N30 billion with the reduction on Earned Allowances.
He added that between the revitalisation and Earned Allowances, the Federal Government had offered a cumulative sum of N65 billion.
On the issue of Earned Academic Allowances and Earned Allowances (EAA/EA), he said that the Accountant General of the Federation had offered to immediately release N40 billion or, in the alternative, N35 billion.
He said that this was to be shared by all the registered trade unions in the universities after providing necessary evidence of having earned the allowance.
“The Federal Government reiterated that her offer of N40 billion or N35 billion, whichever is accepted by ASUU, was for all university unions.
“ASUU had proposed that N40 billion be paid immediately for all the unions.
Vice Chancellors are to submit details of the Earned Academic Allowances and Earned Allowances to the NUC on or before November 30,” he said.
He said the meeting agreed that the inauguration of university visitation panels would be carried out as soon as the institutions reponed while awaiting gazetting.
“We are expecting ASUU to go and relay the latest proposals to her organs and revert to government so that the universities can reopen next week,” he said.
On his part, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU president, said that the union had received the new proposals by the federal government and would consult with its organs before taking a position.
“I do not really have much to say as the minister had said it all.
“Government has given us offers and we have promised to go back to our organs to brief them and then come back to government.
We acknowledge that progress has been made,” he said.
Ogunyemi said that ASUU would need till Friday next week to meet with its organs before reverting to government.
“The next meeting has therefore been adjourned till Friday next week,” he said.