N1trillion appropriated for ASUU, universities – Gbajabiamila

Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker of the House of Representatives, has said Seven hundred billion naira (N700,000,000,000) and another Three hundred billion naira (N300,000,000,000) was appropriated as salary increment for members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, and revitalization fund respectively.

He was reacting to the ASUU’s complaint about federal government paying half salaries to its members for the month of October. TheCornet reports that Chris Ngige, the minister of labour and productivity, had explained that the lecturers were paid pro-rata. He said the government applied the ‘no work, no pay principle’ and could not have paid ASUU members for the period of their absence from work.

Explaining, Gbajabiamila said, “When the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called off their industrial action three weeks ago, it meant that academic activities could resume in our nation’s public universities, and students could return to their academic pursuits after the prolonged interruption.

“Since then, the Executive and the House of Representatives have worked to address the issues that led to the strike.

“We are currently working on the 2023 Appropriations Bill, which includes the sum of one hundred and seventy billion naira (N170,000,000,000.00) to provide a level of increment in the welfare package of university lecturers.

“The Bill also includes additional three hundred billion naira (N300,000,000,000.00) in revitalisation funds to improve the infrastructure and operations of federal universities.

“Furthermore, the House of Representatives has convened the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), the Academic Staff
Union of Universities (ASUU) and other stakeholders to facilitate the Federal Republic of Nigeria adoption of elements of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

“The Executive position that it is not obligated to pay salaries to lecturers for the time spent on strike is premised on the law and the
government’s legitimate interest in preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.

“Nonetheless, interventions have been made to explore the possibility of partial payments to the lecturers. We look forward to a favourable consideration by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR who has manifested his desire to what is prudent and necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.

“Implementing meaningful change takes time, especially when appropriations and modifications to systems such as IPPIS are
required,” he said.

“Therefore, I urge all parties to be patient and grant each other the presumption of goodwill to the extent necessary to achieve our shared objectives.

“This is not a time for political brinkmanship. There is no more pressing objective than to preclude the possibility of further disruptions to the academic calendar of the universities.

“We must prevent this possibility by all means, as these disruptions risk the promise and potential of our nation’s youth.”

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