The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has given an update over the ongoing negotiation between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities. He gave the update while speaking to State House correspondents at the end of a meeting with the president.
He stated that the President after consultation with some stakeholders including the National Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) had mandated him to find a quick solution to the strike.
He said a meeting had been held with ASUU with another one planned for Tuesday, adding that the two areas that have not had issues properly analysed are earned allowances and revitalization, otherwise, timelines have been put on most of the other things.
He said a timeline had been given for the draft proposal the union has at the ministry of education for their conditions of service and wages to be concluded.
The minister said when the relevant committee headed by chair of pro-chancellors submits its report, it will be looked at in conjunction with the National Salaries and Wages Commission to make sure that the allowances so proposed do not run counter to government extant fixtures.
According to Ngige, the Federal Government had so far paid over N92 billion as earned allowances and revitalization fees to federal-owned universities across the country. He said this was part of the implementation of the 2020 December agreement reached with ASUU.
Regarding the introduction of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution payment platform as preferred by ASUU instead of the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, the minister said the matter would be revisited.
“UTAS, which the universities developed has been subjected to test by the body responsible for that, Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), which ran a user acceptance test also called integrity and vulnerability test, but in their report, they pointed out to ASUU, the areas of lapses in that platform, which will not make it usable as presently configured.
“But ASUU has written back to NITDA to say that some of those observations were not correct,” he said.
According to Ngige, arrangements have now been concluded for the technical teams of NITDA and ASUU to meet and jointly conduct or repeat the test on the UTAS platform, so as to find a solution to the impasse.