Friday, 8 September 2017

ASUU Strike: What We Proposed To University Teachers – Minister

Details have emerged of the proposal made by the Nigerian Government to university teachers towards ending the indefinite strike by the teachers.

The negotiating team of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, had Friday morning risen from a 12 hours, 30 minutes meeting with a delegation of government in Abuja and announced it had agreed to consider the proposal by government.

The National President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, who led the negotiating team of the union to the meeting, said the team would present the proposal to the leadership of ASUU for its decision and get back to the government in a week.

“Now we have some concrete proposal that we will take back to our members for consideration,” he said.

According to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, the meeting discussed seven issues which constituted the demands of ASUU.

“We inherited these issues from past government but government is a continuous process, we have to address them,” he said.

Mr. Ngige then listed some of the demands and what government proposed to do on each.

On the provision of fund for the revitalisation of public universities, the minister said government has accepted to start quarterly payment into the fund.

“The government has decided to make some funds available for September and October to show they are not liquidating the agreement and to show a sign of good faith,” the minister said.

In respect of the 2009 MoU which non-implementation was the core of the grievances of ASUU, Mr. Ngige said government proposed to set up a seven-man committee with the union to work out the ways and means for implementing the agreement.
However, he Said: “This is without prejudice to the Babalakin Committee on re-negotiation of the agreement”.

On earned allowances of the teachers, which financial implication had risen to “about N220 billion as at 2:20 p.m. on Thursday,” Mr. Ngige said: “Payment has started in that direction.”

Regarding registration of universities’ pension management company and pension matters, the minister said a pathway was proposed for registration of the company.

On university staff schools, which the teachers are demanding to be reopened and funded by the Federal Government as part of universities, the minister said: “Though not appealing, we have agreed that the decision should be communicated to various universities.”

On non-payment of salaries, he said government has shown commitment and evidence that payment had started in order to liquidate outstanding sums and allowances.

On the issue of Treasury Single Account, he said government made a proposal for the Central Bank of Nigeria to create a separate account for universities, while research grants will be exempted from compulsory remittance into the account.

“For issues on state universities and quality of education which concerns everybody, the Minister of Education was mandated to take a memo to the Council of State and the Federal Executive Council, “he said.

ASUU began a nationwide on August 13 to press its demands that broadly centre on improved funding of universities and welfare of lecturers.

The meeting between government and ASUU’s negotiating team where an headway was made on the strike had started at 1:38 p.m. on Thursday and ended 2:15 a.m. on Friday.

“Now we have some concrete proposal that we will take back to our members for consideration,” ASUU President, Mr. Ogunyemi, said.

On his part, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said ASUU’s demands had been addressed and the government would wait for a week for the union’s response so that the strike could be called off.

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