For the umpteenth time,
the meeting between the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government ended in a stalemate on Wednesday
The parties again failed to resolve the issues around the payment platform for salaries and other benefits.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige said the university lecturers had earlier demanded N110b for the revitalisation of the university system, adding that the Federal Goverment offered N20b and N30b for earned academic allowances.
He noted that the N20b was offered to ASUU as a sign of good faith based on the Memorandum of Understanding entered into in 2013 as a result of the renegotiation they had with the government in 2009.
Ngige explained that the government was committed to the revitalization of the university system but added that it was constrained by the dire economic situation occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The minister said, “This government is not against revitalization but this government says that because of the dire economic situation occasioned by COVID-19, we cannot really pay in the N110b which they are demanding for revitalisation.
“We offered N20b as revitalisation fund. On Earned Academic Allowances, the government offered N30b to all the unions in the universities, making it N50b altogether.
“ASUU is saying that the N30b should be for lecturers alone, irrespective of the fact that there are three other unions. So there is a little problem there. We don’t have any money to offer apart from this N30b.”
ASUU had on March 23 begun an indefinite strike over the Federal Government’s insistence on implementing the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, which the government said all its employees must adopt for their salaries to be paid.