Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Federal Government has agreed to release N30 billion earned academic allowance to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and has also offered N20 billion funding for the revitalization of Public Universities.
Following the demands of ASUU for N40 billion of Earned Academic Allowances whicb has become over-due since November 2019, the Federal Government and the leadership of ASUU on Thursday, agreed that N30 billion out of the total will be paid on or before November 6, 2020 while the other N10 billion will be spread between May 2021 and February 2022.
The Federal Government also offered N20 billion for funding the revitalization of public Universities which the leadership of ASUU agreed to consult with its membership for consideration and reverting on Wednesday October 21, 2020.
The conciliation meeting was Chaired by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige who hosted the leadership of ASUU, the leadership of the Nigerian University Commission, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) and other top ranking Government officials.
Speaking at the meeting, Dr Ngige said students were being recruited into the #EndSARS protests following the closure of universities occasioned by the ASUU strike. He expressed the hope that ASUU would call off the strike soon, so that students can go back to school.
On the Intergrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the meeting was informed that ASUU has met its timeline regarding the first stage of the initial demonstration of the efficacy of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to Government as this was done on Wednesday, 14th October, 2020.
The Meeting also agreed that if UTAS passes all the different stages of the integrity test which would involve the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of the National Security Advisers (NSA) and after ascertaining its efficacy; it would be adopted for the payment of the University staff.
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.
The Federal Government team stressed that ASUU can thereafter be migrated to UTAS whenever it is certified digitally efficient and effective with accompanying security coverage. ASUU, however, maintained that given invention of UTAS, it should be exempted from IPPIS in the transition period.