The meeting between the Federal government and the academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) aimed at putting an end to the strike action embarked upon by university lecturers has been adjourned to October 21.

The Thursday meeting was convened as a follow up to the previous meeting held with the Senate leadership on Tuesday, where the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, committed to engaging Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other stakeholders to iron out the outstanding issues.

While Mr Ngige led the federal government’s team, the President of ASUU, Biodun Ogunyemi, led the representatives of the lecturers’ union.

During the negotiation, the Federal Government agreed to release N30 billion earned academic allowance to the university lecturers.

The money will be paid in tranches between May 2021 and February 2022.

The government also promised to spend N20 billion on the revitalisation of the education sector as part of concessions meant to end the seven-month strike declared by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

But, both parties refused to shift grounds on the enrollment into Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris at the meeting appealed to ASUU to receive their salaries through IPPIS platform pend- ing when UTAS will be ready but members of the union rejected the plea.

The lecturers argued that IPPIS was not demonstrated to them before government started using it for workers. They wondered why demonstration of UTAS should be a requisite for the stoppage their salaries.

Although Thursday’s meeting could not achieve the suspension of the strike, it concluded on the funding for revitalisation of public universities according to a statement by the Ministry of Labour.

According to the statement issued by the ministry of labour, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, will continue discussions with the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning on its earlier Memo to President Muhammadu Buhari on sources of alternative funding for the revitalization to facilitate the process of additional funding of the university system.

This is with a view to reactivating the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of 2013 as agreed in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) of 2019

Also, in response to the demand by ASUU for the payment of the Earned Allowance due from 2019, totalling N40 Billion, the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) committed to release N30 billion on or before November 6, 2020.

He added that the remaining N10 billion would be spread equally over the two tranches to be paid in May 2021 and February 2022 respectively.

On the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) rejected by the union, the meeting was informed that ASUU has met its timeline regarding the first stage of the initial demonstration of the efficacy of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) to government as this was done on Wednesday, October 14, 2020.

“The meeting also agreed that if UTAS passes all the different stages of the integrity test which would involve National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of the National Security Advisers (NSA) and after ascertaining its efficacy; it would be adopted for the payment of the University staff.”

The conciliatory meeting is to reconvene by October 21 by 3.00 p.m. after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting for ASUU to report back on the decision of her NEC, in order to facilitate the calling off their strike, the statement read.

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