FG insists pact with ASUU on course, rules out strike by lecturers
The Memorandum of Action (MOA) signed with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) by the Federal Government is on course, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige has said.
Speaking at the end of a parley with the delegation of ASUU in Abuja last Thursday night, Ngige said the meeting reviewed the progress made in the implementation of the MOA signed by both parties in December 2020.
Ngige said the meeting discussed every item on the 2020 Memorandum of Action (MOA) between government and ASUU and the progress made so far, and reached agreements.
On the issue of the Revitalisation Fund, the Minister said they considered how to streamline the outstanding payment into the national budget or into a special system fund.
With regards to Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), Ngige recalled that the government paid N40 billion to all the unions while the National Universities Commission (NUC) provided a formula, which was used for sharing it to all university workers.
“We had pockets of protest (regarding that) and we managed it. Today, we also agreed to find a way to accommodate the balance in order to pay all as and when due.
“We also looked at salaries that were not captured by the office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), resulting in some lecturers not having their full amount of payment since December or January 2020.
“We felt that such a thing should not arise. Notes were exchanged by the OAGF and the ASUU leadership. So, we want them to go back and cross check,” he explained.
The minister said the meeting also discussed the issue of check off dues, noting that both the OAGF and ASUU were asked to go back and look at their records and reconcile because the Accountant General’s office said it had finished payment and tendered documents in that respect.
He noted that the issue of state universities and the NUC Bill were equally addressed, saying they agreed that both parties should look at the draft bill and the final bill for transmission to the National Assembly.
He added: “We also looked at the issue of University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) and also made certain recommendations which will be communicated to the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, who heads the supervising ministry, to enable them fast-forward the various tests that are needed on the UTAS system, like stress test, integrity test and the rest of them.
“So, it has been a very fruitful meeting and we have reached agreements on most of the issues and we can say that we made a very big progress on the relationship between the government and ASUU. In the light of that, we have agreed to reconvene before the end of May, to know where we have reached on the various assignments we gave to ourselves.”
On his part, President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said: “Put together, we want to agree that we had fruitful deliberations, and we have strong hopes that there would be a peaceful and harmonious relationship in achieving the provisions of the MOA of 2020.”
He commended the Federal Government for agreeing with the union on a periodic review of the implementation of the MOA signed by both parties, saying: “We want to agree that it is a departure from the past, because now we have agreed on intermittent or periodic review of the MOA so that areas that could create tension would be apprehended before matters degenerate.”
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