FG, ASUU Talks Fruitful, Says Ngige

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

Federal Government has said that its negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has yielded fruitful results.

Addressing journalists shortly after their parley held in Abuja yesterday, Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige said that deliberations had been very fruitful and that government had met all the demands of the lecturers.

He said that the only thing that remained was for ASUU to take the outcome of the meeting to their members for ratification and to revert to government’ with a resolution to call off the strike latest by Friday next week.

Also while corroborating the Minister’s statement, ASUU president, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said that their talks were fruitful and that the union would in their usual practice, take the outcome to the members before reverting to government’ on their resolution
At the commencement of the meeting, the minister said that ASUU had submitted a written response to federal government’s offer.

THISDAY gathered from sources at yesterday’s meeting that the government made further adjustments in the offers made to ASUU in a determined effort to resolve the deadlock
Some of the offers made by government’ as at their last meeting, a week ago included amounts to be paid as Earned Allowances, revitalisation fund and a pledge to offset their salary arrears.

While confirming government’s position, Ngige said: “What we said in the meeting and what we agreed was that in the interim for the transition period that UTAS is being tested by NITDA and the Office of National Security Adviser for cyber security. For those transition period, ASUU members that are not yet on IPPIS will be paid through the platform with which they were paid the President compassionate COVID-19 payment done to them between the months of February and June.
On new offer made to ASUU, the minister said that prior to meeting of yesterday, government brought an aggregate offer of N50 billion to ASUU.

“The offer made is clear. You can understand it this way. Prior to meeting of yesterday, Government brought an aggregate offer of N50 billion to ASUU. N20 billion for revitalisation to show good faith that government is still with them on the issue of funding for revitalisation and pending the affirmation of the new sources of funding public education. There is a committee on that and the committee is working on sourcing new education funds, it is a NEEDS committee.

So pending that NEEDS committee effecting a new funding source and strategy, government offered them N20 billion for revitalisation apart from the funds that are coming from TETFUNDS that is also used for revitalisation, they refused the N20 billion and said that they want N110 billion and that N110 billion is 50 per cent of a tranche of N220 billion government said they don’t have that kind of money and then increased that N20 billion by N5 billion to become N25 billion and if it becomes N25 billion, the Earned Allowances will be raised to N40 billion immediate payment making for a total of N65 billion for revitalisation and Earned Allowances in the universities.

“Government then said alternatively, ASUU can opt for the revitalisation to move up to N30 billion, while the Earned Allowances for all the unions in the universities will drop from N40 billion to N35 billion, that is the second basket offered them, either of the two. Either you choose N25 billion revitalisation plus N40 billion Earned Allowances or revitalisation of N30 billion and N35 billion Earned Allowances,” he said