Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige has said the Federal Government would release the sum of N30 billion as revitalisation fund to universities by second week of August.
The Minister stated that the fund, which was paid in January, was still domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria pending the conclusion of the audit report of the Implementation Committee.
The report would state the use of previous funds disbursed to universities by the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Universities Commission, to Fbe paid into the accounts of universities soon.
Ngige stressed that the fund would be paid to successful universities based on the evaluation report of the committee while those with shortcomings would be required to make up before accessing the fund.
The revitalisation fund is among seven key issues evaluated at a meeting with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities on Monday.
A statement signed and made available to journalists by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, stated that the two parties at the meeting expressed satisfaction with the implementation stages of what Ngige termed “work in progress.”
The Minister said some of the items in the Memorandum of Action (MOA) were nearly done hundred percent within the timeline.
He explained that the National Information Technology Development Agency(NITDA) was directed to expedite action on the integrity test on the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) which if successful, will eliminate the challenges posed by the peculiarities of the university system to the current payment platform.
“The report has been turned in , deliberated upon and both the Education Ministry and the NUC have promised to write to the Accountant General of the Federation next week for the release of the money to the NEEDS Special Account for onward disbursement to universities shortly,” Ngige said.
He further disclosed that apart from the N40B Earned Allowance which the Federal Government has already paid, the Budget Office of the Federation showed evidence at the meeting that N22B Earned Allowances for year 2021 was already captured in the 2021 supplementary budget of the federation, and would soon be accessed.
He also said that evidence was presented to show that promotion arrears have been paid to some universities while the Budget Office of the Federation and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation were asked to liaise with ASUU to sort out the rest, noting that the standing committee on the matter has been expended to include National Income Salaries and Wages Commission .
“A situation where a university professor is paid N107, 000 out of mistake or over deduction is unacceptable,” Ngige declared.
ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the meeting and promised that the union will reach out to its members.
Ngige has expressed shock that the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) has embarked on strike after holding a similar successful evaluation meeting with him, last week.
Source: Voice of Nigeria