The federal government has so far paid over N92 billion as earned allowances and revitalisation fee to federal universities across the country, Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, has said.
The minister, who disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents Tuesday, said this was part of the implementation of the 2020 December agreement reached with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) .
He said: “Why I said that the 2020 December agreement we had with ASUU is on course in terms of implementation, is that in that agreement, there is a line that says the federal government should pay N40 billion for (Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) for ASUU and other unions, that has been paid.
“N30 billion was also budgeted or was to be paid for revitalization that also was paid late last year. N22.127 billion was agreed also in that December agreement, to be paid from supplementary budget as Earned Allowances for 2021, that money was also paid last year; it was put in the supplementary budget which was passed around June-July and the money was remitted. So, the government has done that.”
The Labour Minister also said the controversial issue of introducing the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) payment platform as preferred by university lecturers instead of government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), is being looked at.
“UTAS, which the universities developed has been subjected to test by the body responsible for that, Nigeria Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), which ran a user acceptance test also called integrity and vulnerability test, but in their report, they pointed out to ASUU, the areas of lapses in that platform, which will not make it usable as presently configured . But ASUU has written back to NITDA to say that some of those observations were not correct,” he said.
Dr Ngige said arrangements have now been concluded for the technical teams of NITDA and ASUU to meet and jointly conduct or repeat the test on the UTAS platform, so as to find a solution to the impasse.
University lecturers in Nigeria have been on a warning strike since February 14, to press home their demands, one of which is for government to accept UTAS as the platform for payment of their salaries but the government prefers to use the IPPIS platform, currently being used for the payment of salaries of all public workers.