ASUU wants govt to address funding, autonomy in varsities
*Body claims TSA stifling research efforts, staff development
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) wants the Federal Government to address depressing issues, which could threaten the smooth running of universities in the country.
The union has also claimed that the implementation of the Treasure Single Account (TSA), has been largely inimical to the wellbeing of universities affecting its effective functioning on several fronts.
Addressing newsmen in Awka, Anambra State, the Owerri Zonal Coordinator of the union, Prof. Ike Odimegwu, lamented that the government had reneged on the agreement signed with the union in 2009, including the funding of universities, universities’ autonomy, conditions of service, among others, which led to the ASUU-FG Memorandum of Understanding of 2012, and 2013 for effective implementation of the agreement, which equally failed.
The union also accused the Federal Government of not making efforts to defray the arrears of 2009 to 2015 earned academic allowances in the university system, insisting that this was a violation of the right of ASUU members.
“Based on the ASUU-FG MOU of November 2013, Nigerian universities need about N1.3trillion to reposition the universities, in order for them to compare favourably with others around the world. Today, government is in arrears of N605b as at the third quarter of 2016.
“Similarly, the budgetary allocation to education has drastically dropped from 11 per cent in 2015, to eight per cent in 2016, this situation has sculled the smooth process of revitalisating universities… and led to several abandoned projects on many campuses,” Odimegwu who was flanked by other union chieftains in the zone said.
He further noted with concern, the issue of shortfall in personnel emoluments in federal universities, and irregular/non-payment of salaries and subventions in state universities, saying the development has become very worrisome.
The zonal coordinator argued that the implementation of the Treasure Single Account (TSA), has made it impossible for universities to draw research grants, run programmes based on endowment funds, and transfer funds earmarked for staff development in universities locally and internationally, describing the TSA policy as inimical to the wellbeing of universities.
“All our appeals for government to exempt universities from the TSA have failed. ASUU would take necessary steps to resist the continued implementation of TSA in our universities,” he informed.
On the state of the nation, the union expressed worry over the economy, especially the adoption of the World Bank/ International Monetary Fund (IMF)- sponsored policy of privatisation and deregulation, saying it has resulted to unprecedented devaluation of the naira.