The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has received a new offer from the Federal Government after last Thursday’s offer on Tuesday and it is expected that ASUU will have to reconvene to discuss the FG’s new offer.
Campus Catch Ng reported that the leadership of ASUU and that of Federal Government delegation met at the Ministry of Labour and Employment for about eight hours, after which ASUU president, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, said that no pronouncement would be made until after presenting the new government proposals to members of the union.
Details of the new proposal presented by FG yesterday was however, not disclosed as the union is yet to meet. The two-week warning strike which started last week is expected to end this week Friday. It is however, feared that if ASUU demands are not met, the warning strike may result in a full blown indefinite strike as the lecturers are refusing to be cowed by the Federal government.
Premium Times reports that the labour minister, Chris Ngige, said the government had tabled a new proposal regarding the agreement on the Integrated Payroll Personal Information System (IPPIS).
The meeting which started 3:30 p.m. ended at about 11:01 pm. ASUU declared the strike over the non-payment of salaries of their members who failed to enrol into the federal government’s IPPIS, a payroll software mandated for all public officials.
The government last Thursday also reached an interim agreement with striking university lecturers to integrate the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the IPPIS. The IPPIS is the government’s accountability software that has been made compulsory for all public institutions, mainly for personnel payroll.
ASUU is opposed to the use of IPPIS for lecturers saying it does not consider some of the peculiar operations of universities. The lecturers’ union then developed its own UTAS which it wants the government to adopt for universities.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Ngige said the issues discussed ranged from funding, revitalisation of public universities, earned academic allowances and salaries shortfalls. “Issue of IPPIS was also discussed and options and solutions were advanced. Government has a proposal which had been given to ASUU.
ASUU will take these issues that are outstanding back to its National Executive Council for them to be on the same page before they get back to the government. We have agreed that a tentative date to get back to the government is before the weekend runs out. We expect ASUU to write government before then to see if there will be a need for a further meeting,” he said.
According to Mr Ngige, they also addressed payment of earned academic allowances to the University of Ilorin. On the Nigerian University Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO), a certificate was issued last year but operational certificate had not been issued because we do not have a permanent PENCOM board in place, he said.
He said the government has made a proposal on how the NUPEMCO board will be able to fulfill its obligation especially in terms of preparation of annual audit reports. “Issue of visitation panel to the universities has been on the table since last year. Government side made progress in that approval has been gotten and we are waiting for the gazette of the membership of the visitation panels,” he said.
Also speaking, the ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, said both parties have improved on where they stopped in the previous meeting. He said the government has made “concrete proposals to our members but as we usually say, “those of us here cannot make a final pronouncement on any of the proposals.”
“We have assured the government team that we will report to our principals and get back. We want to assure Nigerians that we are concerned with going back to our work because that is where we are happiest. We are not happy staying outside the classrooms, laboratories and laboratories.
We will do our best to ensure that all concerned have the maximum benefit from this action because it is of national interest. If academics don’t defend the universities, who will defend the academics?”
The ball is now in ASUU court as we now look forward to a positive response from ASUU and expect new developments within the week.