The federal government has reportedly released the sum of N15.89 billion to Nigerian universities in a bid to end the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
A source who pleaded not to be named told the Nation that the money was released as part of concessions made at a meeting with the striking union convened by the minister of labour and employment, Chris Ngige, on Monday, December 31, 2018.
The source stated that the minister is expecting that the ASUU leadership will return to the negotiation table following the concessions made.
“One of the conditions met by the Federal Government was the release of N15.89 billion to universities on New Year’s Eve( Monday) for the payment of shortfall in salaries of universities,” a source told The Nation,” the source said.
“The cash is expected to hit the account of all the institutions on or before the close of work today (Wednesday).
“The government has also set aside N20 billion as revitalisation funds for varsities.
The National Universities Commission( NUC) has been directed to work out the modalities for allocating the funds to all institutions.
“On the demand for the setting up of Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company “(NUPEMCO), the government has directed the National Pension Commission (NUPEMCO) to issue a licence for the company’s take-off.
“Funds have also been set aside for Earned Academic allowances for lecturers, senior staff and other workers.
Prior to the meeting, the minister reportedly said the federal government had substantially met the conditions given by the ASUU.
“I am meeting with ASUU leaders on Monday where all steps taken by the government will be tabled before them.
This is a responsive and transparent government, we have done our best to meet the conditions,” he said.
“In fact, officials from the Ministry of Budget and National Planning will be at the next meeting with ASUU leadership where they will be briefed on facts and figures.
“We are hopeful that the actions taken by the government will be acceptable to ASUU for our schools to reopen.
However, the ASUU chairman in the southwest zone, Deji Omole, said the union was had not gotten updates from the federal government for over two weeks.
He denied knowledge of any updates on the union’s negotiation with the federal government, saying said the negotiating committee still awaiting announcement of a new date for talks.
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has pledged commitment to workers welfare while appealing to the federal government to urgently transmit the bill on the new national minimum wage to the National Assembly.
Ayuba Wabba, NLC president, made the appealed in a New Year Message on Tuesday, January 1, in Abuja, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
According to him, 2018 remains one of the most traumatic for workers especially given the failure of government to enact and implement the new national minimum wage of N30,000.
Wabba said the NLC leadership remained committed to giving all that it takes to ensure that workers get just and fair wages in a decent work environment appropriate to their well-being.