There are indications that next Wednesday, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) may call its strike as the federal government has agreed to release to university lecturers N30bn of academic allowance received.
This was part of the conclusion reached after the meeting between government officials and the union leadership that ended late Thursday night.
The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) undertook to release N30 billion on or before November 6, 2020, in a communiqué signed at the end of the meeting, in response to ASUU ‘s demand for the payment of the two tranches, which amounted to 40 trillion Naira overdue since November 2019.
The remaining 10 billion decided will be allocated evenly between the two tranches to be paid out respectively in May 2021 and February 2022.
On funding for the revitalization of public universities, the Government said it offered N20 trillion payable by the end of January 2021 despite the economic downturn as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and ASUU agreed to take the offer to its members for consideration and to revert it by Wednesday 21 October 2020.
According to the communiqué, in order to facilitate the process of additional funding for the university system, the Minister of Education will follow up with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on his previous memo to President Muhammadu Buhari on sources of alternative funding for revitalisation.
“This is with a view to reactivating the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of 2013 as agreed in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 2019,” it stated.
The meeting was told of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) that ASUU has fulfilled its timetable for the first stage of the initial demonstration to the government of the effectiveness of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as it was completed on Wednesday, 14 October 2020.
The meeting also decided that if UTAS passes all the various phases of the credibility test involving the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of National Security Advisers (NSA) and decides its effectiveness, it will be adopted for the payment of workers at the University.
“Meanwhile the meeting could not agree on how payment would be done for ASUU members during the transitional period of UTAS tests as the Government side again appealed to ASUU to enroll on IPPIS platform in view of the Presidential directive that all Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) employees should be paid via IPPIS. They can thereafter be migrated to UTAS whenever certified digitally efficient and effective with accompanying security coverage. The ASUU maintained that given ASUU’s invention of UTAS, it should be exempted from IPPIS in the transition period.”
Therefore, it was decided that the meeting would reconvene next Wednesday after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for ASUU to report back on its NEC decision in order to encourage the call-off of its strike.