The Federal Government has taken another step towards ending the crisis in the nation’s higher institutions of learning by earmarking N34b for payment of minimum wage arrears of their members of staff.

Out of the N34 billion, universities will receive N23.5b; polytechnics, N6 billion and Colleges of Education N4 billion.

Apart from the striking members of the unions in the universities and polytechnics, inter-university centre workers will also benefit from the payment of the arrears.

Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige disclosed this at the 3rd National Productivity summit in Abuja.

Ngige hinted at likely wage adjustments for both teaching and non-teaching staff members of universities, polytechnics and Colleges of Education as the government intensifies efforts to streamline wages through the National Salaries and Wages Commission.
He also said that the reports of the committees set up during the last tripartite- plus meeting of the Federal Government and the university union would he ready before Monday.

The minister, therefore, appealed university- based unions to suspend their strikes in the interest of students.

Ngige said: “Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three payment platforms– the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS),  the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) of ASUU and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) of the non-teaching staff.

“They started the testing last Thursday. The National  Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) has issued its amendment circulars. The unions also have copies to take care of responsibility and hazard allowances wherever it has not been properly captured.

“We have done that of the police for example. It wasn’t envisaged that we should do it in pockets. But you can see that police have been done. You can also see university teachers saying that their own should be done immediately since we have done that of the police. So, something is being done.”

“ It was part of the 2009 negotiation they had with the government then. So, the committee of Prof. Briggs is on it, discussing it with the university unions and their employer, the Federal Ministry of Education. They will bring up something for government to see.

“There are other people. The doctors are complaining about brain drain, this and that. Their hazard allowance has to be touched and it was touched by close to 300 per cent.

“From N5,000 paid across board for each person, the least person in the health sector is getting N15,000 while the big ones are getting N45,000. So, that is the quantum leap.”


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