Ngige: FG working to address ASUU’s demands — N92bn paid so far

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Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, says the federal government is working on measures to resolve the issues which led to the current strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

ASUU had, on February 14, declared a one-month strike.

Speaking with state house correspondents on Tuesday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on the strike, Ngige said actions are on on course to resolve the crisis.

He said the federal government has so far paid over N92 billion as part of the implementation of the agreement reached with the union in December 2020.

“Why I said that the 2020 December agreement we had with ASUU is on course in terms of implementation, is that in that agreement, there is a line that says the federal government should pay N40 billion for earned academic allowances (EAA) for ASUU and other unions. That has been paid,” he said.

“N30 billion was also budgeted or was to be paid for revitalisation. That also was paid late last year.

“N22.127 billion was agreed also in that December agreement, to be paid from the supplementary budget as earned allowances for 2021. That money was also paid last year; it was put in the supplementary budget which was passed around June-July and the money was remitted. So, the government has done that.”

He said the controversy surrounding the adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform as preferred by university lecturers, instead of the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), is being considered.

“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.

Ngige said arrangements have been concluded for the technical teams of NITDA and ASUU to meet and jointly conduct tests on the UTAS platform so as to find a solution to the impasse.

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