The federal government has expressed optimism that the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would soon end.
ASUU has been in a tussle with the federal government over unmet demands. On February 14, the union embarked on a one-month warning strike to press home its demands.
The union’s executives and government delegates recently met in Abuja to discuss how to end the industrial action.
NAN reports that Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, spoke with journalists on Wednesday after the end of the conciliation meeting.
According to the minister, during the meeting, they agreed on many issues and a timeline was scheduled for the implementation of the agreements.
He also disclosed that ASUU officials agreed to return to their members with offers made by the government and revert to him before the week runs out.
He said many of the items in the 2020 memorandum of action (MoA) had been taken care of while some were being addressed.
Ngige said a new team had been constituted to take a second look at the MoA.
He added that they fixed a timeline of six weeks for the new committee set up by the education ministry to round up everything on the conditions of service.
On the issue of University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) for the payment of salaries, he said the meeting mandated a joint committee to conduct an integrity test on the platform in conjunction with neutral experts.
The minister also said the joint committee has ASUU, the National Universities Commission (NUC), and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) as members.
Ngige said there was no problem with the issue of earned academic allowances (EAA) apart from the reconciliation of payments made in tranches to the university system.
“Once we conclude the reconciliation, if the Federal Government is in arrears on any tranche, the finance minister will look for money to pay; even though the Federal Government does not have money,” he said.
“Earned allowance is an allowance for excessive workload. Last year, it was paid based on the rule of the thumb theory of 10 per cent of total personnel cost.
“This year, we have told the National Universities Commission to put up a committee and within the next three weeks, come up with a figure that will be sent to the finance minister.
“For me, I think, we are on course, ASUU should go to their members, show them offers made to them by government so that they can call off the strike.”
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