The Federal Government has given the joint technical committee formed to re-test the viability of ASUU’s University Transparency Accountability Solutions, UTAS, for salary payment 4 weeks to report back.
The re-testing of the software was spurred by ASUU’s rejection of the results of a user acceptance test conducted by the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, which determined that UTAS failed the integrity and vulnerability tests.
ASUU has consistently maintained that the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS, is unsuitable for the university system, and has proposed UTAS, which the government claims does not meet the necessary requirements, a situation that has become a point of contention between them.
Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, who informed President Buhari on the current status of engagement with ASUU, refuted the impression that the government was just playing games to avoid increasing the compensation of university lecturers.
Dr Ngige assured that the government was willing to compare the salaries of lecturers with those of their peers overseas and make compensatory increases if necessary.
He said the President, after consultations with some stakeholders, including the National Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, had mandated him to find a quick solution to the strike, hence the ongoing engagement with ASUU.
The strike started 3 weeks ago and it is to last for one month as a warning to the federal government over what ASUU said was a failure to implement all agreements reached.
The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, threatened a ‘show down’ with the government if the strike was not called off. They gave a one-week ultimatum, which elapsed March 1.
Earned and Revitalisation Allowances
Two topics that had yet to be thoroughly examined, according to the minister, were Earned and Revitalisation Allowances, and that a deadline had been set for the union’s draft submission to the Ministry of Education for their conditions of service and remuneration to be completed.
Dr Ngige stated that when the relevant committee, chaired by the Chair of Pro-chancellors, makes its report, it will be evaluated in collaboration with the National Salaries and Wages Commission to ensure that the allowances proposed do not contradict the government’s existing rules.
The Minister explained that the government has paid N40 billion for earned allowances, as well as N30 billion for revitalisation and N22.7 billion for Earned Allowances for 2021 funded from the supplementary budget.
Reporting by Abdullah Bello; Editing by Saadatu Albashir