*Union likely to call off strike
Regina Otokpa, Abuja
After eight months of heated negotiations, the Federal Government has finally agreed for salaries of lecturers be paid on an older platform which was different from the controversial Integrated Payroll Personnel information System (IPPIS), repeatedly rejected by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The salaries counting from February to June would be paid through the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System.
Also, government has agreed to raise the Earned Academic Allowances to university staff from N30bn to N35bn and the revitalisation fund from N20bn to N25bn, which brings the the total offer to N65 billion through the Accountant – General of the Federation.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, who made this known after a meeting with leadership of the Union on Friday in Abuja, said ASSU’s exemption from the IPPIS platform was pending when the university lecturers complete the development of its own payment platform- the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
Ngige, who read a communique signed by all parties, involved further added that the funds would be shared by all the registered Trade Unions in the universities after providing necessary evidence of having earned the allowance.
“Responding to the demand for immediate payment of 50% of the initial amount allotted for the purpose (revitalisation) which translates to N110 billion, the FG stated that this is not possible because of paucity of funds.
“The government, however, offered to pay N25 billion based on the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 7th February, 2019 signed with ASUU or in the alternative, urged ASUU to accept N30 billion with the reduction in the earlier Earned Allowances. Between the revitalisation and earned allowances, the FG has offered a cumulative sum of N65 billion.
“The Accountant – General of the Federation offered to immediately release N40 billion or in the alternative N35 billion to be shared by all the registered Trade Unions in the universities after providing the necessary evidence of having earned the allowance.
“The FG reiterated that her offer of N40 billion or 35 billion whichever is accepted by ASUU was for all the universities unions: ASUU had proposed that N40 billion be paid immediately for all unions,” the communique said.
The breakthrough in negotiations is expected to end the eight-month strike embarked on by the university lecturers.
President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi noted that leadership of the union would have to consult with its branches and communicate its position to the government by next week.
Before the new offer by government, ASUU had demanded N110 billion for revitalisation which should be paid in tranches.