The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has said that the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, are inching towards ending the ongoing strike by lecturers.
Ngige said this on Monday, expressing the hope that the strike would be called off and normal school activities would resume soon.
ASUU started its strike on November 5, 2018 over issues bordering on the funding for revitalisation of universities; earned academic allowances; staff schools; pension matters; salary shortfalls, Treasury Single Account exemption; and state universities.
The two parties have met on different occasions without success.
But speaking after their meeting on Monday, Ngige said some level of success had been recorded.
“We have finished our deliberation for today. I am happy to report that we touched some areas of understanding in implementation from the Memorandum of Action which we agreed to in 2017.
“Some of these areas we have substantial compliance and some other areas have not been fully dealt with.
“Like the issue of shortfall in salaries of some Federal Universities’ workers and lecturers, ASUU has given a list to the Accountant-General’s Office and we have agreed that by Wednesday that list should be cross-checked by the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Auditing.
“So, the Accountant-General’s Office is to get back to us by Wednesday.
“We also have the issue of Earned allowances, revitalisation, these are issues of 2009 agreement and partial implementation and we have agreed on the modus operandi to look into the fund situation, this is due to low revenue on the part of government. ”
He said there had been an agreement on what to do to make sure that the outstanding amount is handled in a way that all parties would be properly accommodated.
He added: “We also discussed the issue of state universities and agreed also that even if education is on the concurrent list, the universities should be properly funded and staffed so that we do not produce half-baked students from those universities.
“In realisation of this the Ministry of Education will set up a committee, that would engage the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, and the Minister of Education has taken steps in that direction to formalise the interaction.
“Thus, discussions are fruitful and we do hope that in the next adjourned date we would have had the requisite result on the few agreements reached today.”
ASUU National President, Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi, said the government had made some promises, and that his union would wait for the report before “we can get back to our members to take a decision.”