Adelani Adepegba, Abuja
After weeks of negotiations and foot-dragging, the Federal Government on Friday accepted the demand by the Academic Staff Union of Universities that they be exempted from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
The government also shifted grounds on a number of issues, including the insistence that all the academic staff of the federal universities must be paid through the IPPIS platform.
Reading out the communique at the end of a seven-hour negotiation with ASUU members in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said the government also agreed to ASUU’s demand to pay their members’ salary arrears from February to June through the old salary payment platform, Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System.
He stated, “We are also reviewing how the lecturers will be paid on the old platform until UTAS is ready for usage.
“We agreed also that the withheld salaries are the component of the issue of ‘no work, no pay’ that was invoked and the Minister of Education and myself are working on that to get approval for the lifting of the embargo.
“This is a transition period between the formalization of UTAS, and as soon as we finish this, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the National Universities Commission and the Vice Chancellors are to work together to make sure that the withheld salaries are paid through the old platform, which the Accountant General’s office used in paying the salaries of university workers that were not captured on IPPIs for the months of February, March, April, May and June.”
The government also offered to raise the Earned Allowances to university staff from N30bn to N35bn and the revitalization fund from N20bn to N25bn.
The breakthrough in negotiations is expected to end the eight-month strike embarked on by the university lecturers.