The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has said the industrial peace being enjoyed in the nation’s tertiary institutions is under threat as a result of failure of government to honour various agreements reached with various unions in the education sector.
Speaking at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union in Abuja, NASU president, comrade Chris O. Ani highlighted some of the issues bedeviling higher institutions in the country.
He said, “It is unfortunate that funding of our universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of education has not improved despite the struggles of the unions in those sectors. It should be recalled that in year 2014, the administration of the then President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan released tongue universities the sum of N200 billion as intervention fund with a promise to release additional N100 billion yearly for another two years. Unfortunately, as the NEC meeting holds, apart from the N200 billion that was released then, nothing had happened to the promise N100 billion yearly for another two years.
“In a similar vein, the government constituted Needs Assessment Committees for public owned Polytechnics and Colleges of Education and three years after the committees had concluded work and submitted their reports to government, nothing has been heard from government on the issue despite the fact that our polytechnics and colleges of education are in dire need of additional funds.”
He urged federal government to positively address the issue of increased funding of tertiary institutions in the country.
On issue of shortfall in personnel emolument of tertiary institutions, he said it is regrettable to note that since November 2015, the federal government has failed to release in full personnel emolument to universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
He said, “this has impacted negatively on the ability of the various universities to pay staff salaries in full. As we are gathered here, the situation has not changed because the government owes the institutions seven months’ shortfall. This is generating tension and industrial disquiet in the affected institutions.”
He called President Buhari to ensure that necessary funds are released to clear the arrears of the shortfall and also ensure that full allocations for personnel emoluments are released to the institutions to guarantee full payment of salaries.
The NASU president listed other areas affecting the tertiary education sector to include failure of government to provide funding of the outstanding earned allowance agreement reached with unions; directive of government to stop funding of staff schools, CONTISS 15 migration to staff of polytechnics and colleges of education.
He said, “another cause of disquiet in the institutions is the directive of the federal ministry of education to the institutions stopping them from using their Internal Generated Revenue (IGR) for payment of staff allowance that are not consolidated. The federal government is therefore requested to rescind its directive on this matter ad direct Managements of polytechnics and colleges of education to continue the payment of CONTISS 15 migration and other allowanced not consolidated from the IGR in line with thebyar 2010 agree
On the state of the nation, Ani lamented the inability of some state governors to pay salaries to workers in their state. He said, the union supports the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) position on “No pay, No Work”
He said, “we have heard very top government officials, who we believe them because they were elected and appointed to handle issues as this. We look forward to their making the right decision to make the period of recession indeed short.”
Also speaking at the NEC meeting, General Secretary of NASU and deputy president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Peters Adeyemi said the workers are losing patients with the government
He said, “we have waited for so long and we are not willing to wait too long again. The government must do the needful before crisis would start in the universities lest Nigerians say we have started again when we declare strike. ”
NUC Executive Secretary, Prof Abubakar Rasheed in his response promised to discuss the challenges inhibiting the implementation of the 2009 Federal Government/unions agreement.
I will lead a team of NUC management to a meeting towards the end of next week with Vice Chancellors of federal universities, then the Vice Chancellor of State universities, the Vice Chancellors of private universities, heads of institutions affiliated to universities to discuss challenges confronting the university system. We will also discuss the challenges inhibiting the implementation of the 2009 Federal Government/unions agreement. Within the next two weeks of concluding the discussions, I will raise a memo drawing the attention of the Minister of Education to the agreement.