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FG to pay salary arrears of striking university lecturers using its old platform

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THE Federal Government has agreed to pay salary arrears owed to striking university lecturers using the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System (GIFMIS).

Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, made this known in a communique read to newsmen after a seven hour meeting with the striking lecturers to resolve their ongoing eight-month industrial action in Abuja on Friday.

He said his office will work alongside relevant agencies to lift off the embargo placed on the salaries of the lecturers as a result of the strike and who were not captured in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) pending the review and formalization of ASUU’s University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).

“We are also reviewing how the lecturers will be paid on the old platform until UTAS is ready for usage,” he said.

“We agreed also that the withheld salaries are the component of the issue of ‘no work, no pay’ that was invoked and the Minister of Education and myself are working on that to get approval for the lifting of the embargo.

“This is a transition period between the formalization of UTAS, and as soon as we finish this, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the National Universities Commission  and the Vice Chancellors are to work together to make sure that the withheld salaries are paid through the old platform, which the Accountant General’s office used in paying the salaries of university workers that were not captured on IPPIs for the months of February, March, April, May and June.”

The minister also announced that the government has offered to raise the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), to university staff from N30bn to N35bn and the revitalization of universities funds from N20bn to N25bn.

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“The FG reiterated that her offer of N40 billion or N35 billion, whichever is accepted by ASUU, was for all the universities’ unions. ASUU had proposed that N40 billion be paid immediately for all unions,” he said.

“We have moved and brought on the table N15 extra billion and by that, a proposal in one basket for N25 billion Revitalization and N40 billion Earned Allowances for all the unions in the universities.”

“While the second basket offer is the issue of revitalization getting N30 billion and Earned Allowances getting N35 billion. So the offer has been made, it is in this document and ASUU is supposed to come back to the government with acceptance on either or one of the offers.”

As one of the demands of ASUU that the government should constitute a visitation panel to universities, Ngige stated that the panels will be inaugurated in the incoming week and they will conclude their assignments on December 31.

“They will look at issues arising from the last 10 years in those federal universities broken down into 5 years compartments,” he said.

“We also have agreed on the issue of the negotiating panel of the 2009 agreement. The panel has been constituted and members have been given their letters of appointment which says they should start work immediately,” he said.

Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU chairman said, “ASUU will take the new offer to its members” and revert back to the government their position next week Friday.

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“We will give the government our response by next week Friday after discussing with our members.”

ASUU has been on strike over purported shortcomings of IPPIS and the failure of the federal government to honour its 2019 agreement, among other matters since March this year.

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