The Nigerian Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have reached possible agreement towards resolving the ongoing strike by the lectures.
Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige, said this at a reconciliatory meeting with ASUU on Monday in Abuja.
Ngige said the meeting was fruitful as an agreement had been reached between Government and the striking university lecturers.
According to him, Government has released 15.4 billion naira for the payment of the salary shortfalls which is one of the major demands of ASUU.
He stated further, the issue of salaries in tertiary institutions, especially in Universities, the Ministry of Finance and the Office of the Accountant General have provided evidence that on 31 of December, 2018, 15.4 billion naira was remitted.
Also the issue of Earned Allowances in the Universities system, showed the evidence that Mr President has approved the sum of 20 billion naira to be used to offset the outstanding arrears of the 2009 and 2012, audit verified earnings, in the University system.
Ngige noted that the money was being worked on and will be released to ASUU as soon as the process are completed.
On the issue Pension, Ngige stated that ASUU has fulfilled their own side of the bargain in terms of NUPECO, which is the Pension Fund Administration company that ASUU floated to take care of pension for people in the University system.
The Pension regulator, the PENCOM, has asked certain positions to be fulfilled and they gave ASUU a temporary license and that license has expired, and ASUU have submitted all the documents and have fulfilled the conditions needed for them to get their license, Ngige said.
He noted that the meeting resolved to mandate the Ministry of Education, to get in touch with PENCOM to make sure that the permanent license is issued to ASUU as soon as possible.
The Minister also addressed the issue of University revitalisation the previous Administration entered into with ASUU. The issue was for the revitalization of 220 Universities annually for the next 6 years.
This is starting from 2009, this Government will look for resources for the funding.
We have also offered ASUU some token to show good faith and that amount is known to them. Issue of visitation panel is taken care of.
These are major issue we discussed and ASUU is supposed to take back the resolution of these meetings to their members. We expect they will get back to us by Thursday, he said.
Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, ASUU National President, said the National Executive Committee of the union will review its decisions based on the new commitment by the Federal Government.
He said the strike could only be called off after the NEC meeting of the union but did not say when the meeting will hold.
The lecturers have been on strike since November 4 to demand improved funding of Universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government among other things.
Source: Voice of Nigeria