ASUU strike: FG doesn’t have money to meet lecturers’ demands – Ngige

ASUU strike: FG doesn’t have money to meet lecturers’ demands – Ngige

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The Minister of Labor, Senator Chris Ngige has insisted the federal government doesn’t have the money to satisfy some of the needs of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

ASUU embarked on a one-month warning strike on February, 14.

The union clarified that the decision was taken because of the federal government’s postponement to carry out their agreement, which include issues on salaries, the revitalisation fund for universities and the adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) payroll software.

Speaking on Channels Television on Thursday night, Ngige brought up that the N1.3trillion revitalisation fund was a promise made to ASUU by ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan, when the finance of Nigeria were stable.

The Minister said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration informed ASUU regarding its powerlessness to respect the previous revitalization fund agreement, yet vowed to explore different choices to fund universities.

Ngige said: “The N1.3trillion you are talking about was promised by the (Goodluck) Jonathan government. Oil was selling between $100 to $120 per barrel then and the revenue of the federation was rich.

“It was promised by that administration and they promised to kickstart the payment. They paid N200 billion which they borrowed from TETFund. They did not take it from the federation account. That payment spiralled even into 2016 — to our regime.

“A committee was set up with ASUU as members. Government said ‘we are going to drop N25billion for you to show you in good faith that we are not talking nonsense.’

“That one was dropped. Again, another money was paid last year because the committee couldn’t come up with anything that will generate funds.

“We don’t have it. The government didn’t say we are going to pay N1.1trillion that is remaining. They said we don’t have this money and under the principle of capacity and ability to pay, let us renegotiate it because TETFund is still there.

“Unless you want us to take money from TETFund and deceive you like it was done in that period.”

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