Barring any last minute change of position, striking lecturers in the nation’s universities may resume academic activities this week.
The high expectation is informed by positive developments in the talks between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The government yesterday offered ASUU N35 billion as a show of its commitment to ending the strike.
Though, no agreement was reached at yesterday’s meeting between the government and the union, both parties expressed satisfaction with the progress made, prompting ASUU to promise to get back to the government by Thursday after relating to its NEC.
The minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, while briefing journalists after the meeting with ASUU leadership, said that on the issue of salary shortfall, the Ministry of Fnance has provided facts that they remitted the sum of N15.3 billion to accommodate payment of the shortfall that has been verified.
On earned allowances, Ngige said that the ministry showed evidence that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the sum of N20billion to be used to offset the arrears of the 2009 to 2012 audit verified earnings of the university system.
According to Ngige, the aggregate amount for the earned allowance is N120billion, but the government has approved the release of N20 billion and the balance would be paid in tranches.
He therefore said that ASUU is expected to take part of the resolution of the meeting to its members and get back to the government “so that we can reached a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) at least by Wednesday or Thursday.”
He said: “The Ministry of Finance and office of the accountant-general have provided us with evidence that on the 31st of December, 2018 before the expiration of the current aspect of 2018 budget that they remitted the sum of N15.389,940. This is to accommodate the payment of shortfalls in all the tertiary institutions that have been verified.
“Again, on the issue of earned allowances, they also showed us evidence that Mr President has approved the sum of M20 billion to be used to set the arrears of 2009 to 2012 audit verified earnings in the university system.”
Responding, ASUU president reiterated that the leadership of the union will take the resolution of the meeting to its National Executive Council and get back to the federal government as agreed.
He however said the union expects the government to put the grey areas of the agreement that still needs further discussion into writing as promise.
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