The Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, has said that the Federal Government does not have funds to meet some demands of Academic Staff Union of Universities.
Ngige disclosed this on Thursday while appearing on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television.
He said the government was considering a renegotiation of the terms of the agreement with ASUU, in order to bring ongoing strike to an end.
When asked if he agreed that the government had failed to honor its pact with ASUU, Ngige said no.
On when the issue would be resolved, Ngige stated, “I am hoping that ASUU should do the right thing and contact their members on the renegotiations that we have had in the last two weeks. First, the issue of earned academic allowances, we have agreed, giving a timeline to the NUC to go back to the old template used in working out the 2021 earned academic allowance – 10.8 per cent of personnel cost.
“We want them to go back very quickly and use that same formula and get us what we are supposed to pay in 2022. That is agreed by everybody.”
On revitalisation of the universities, the Ngige said “the amount is not very clear, what has been paid.”
On the release of N1.3tn between 2013 and 2018 to revitalise the universities, with N200bn released in 2013 and only N70bn released in the last seven years, Ngige, who said that government is a continuum, also stressed that the N1.3tn was promised by the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration.
According to him, oil was selling at between $100 and $120 per barrel during the Jonathan led administration, while the revenue of the federation was rich.
“The government now says ‘we don’t have the money to pay it.’ This was the agreement between 2016 and 2017,” he said.
Ngige who said the government seeks renegotiation with ASUU on the agreement, noted that “unless you want us to go and take money from TETFUND and deceive you as it was done in that period, and place it for you on the table.”