The ASUU strike is over the refusal of the Federal Government to implement its Memorandum of Agreement signed with ASUU at the end of the last strike that ended in December 2020 after nine months. This included:
- Re-negotiation of the 2009 Agreement
- Establishing visitation panels and publication of their results
- Challenges with the implementation of the Integrated Payment Payroll Information System (IPPIS)
- Funding of University and Tertiary Education Sector
- Earned Allowances for both Academic and Non-Academic Staff of Nigeria’s Universities
- End the proliferation of state universities that cannot be funded.
The 2009 Agreement is expected to be to be reviewed every three years. Negotiations started in March 2017. A Government appointed committee reported in May 2021, but the Government did not respond until a year later. It then established a second committee. As a result, the Government recently gave salary proposals on a take it or leave it basis.
Despite the fact that there was an agreement between ASUU and the Government committee in June 2022, the Government now says it can only increase the salaries of a fresh PhD by 30,000 to about 149,000 naira monthly. The highest paid professor’s pay will increase by 60,000 naira to 476,000 naira only. A new professor will still earn below 400,000 naira monthly. This will result in a large reduction in the buying power of these salaries. University lecturers will still earn less than Polytechnic and Colleges of Education lecturers. An ASUU NEC member stated, “It is like they removed money from junior lecturers and added the small change to senior ones”. In May, the Government released N34 billion for the payment of consequential adjustment for the minimum wage of workers in the education system. This was not part of the ASUU demands.
The University Act states that visitation panels should be sent to all universities every five years. It took the 2020 strike before government set up the panels. Till date government is yet to release the findings of the most recent visitation panels to every Federal university.
ASUU said, IPPIS is flawed and not adequate for universities. Government eventually agreed to test IPPIS. According to Minister Pantami, IPPIS is filled with huge errors and technical inefficiencies and failed the integrity test. Minister Adamu said UTAS performed better than IPPIS. The Government insists that it will continue to use IPPIS to manage payroll payments in the universities.
In 2013, the then Federal Government agreed to inject a total of N1.3 trillion to revitalise public universities. But only N200 billion was released that year and no subsequent payments were made, until 2017 when N20 billion was paid. In 2020, a further N25 billion was offered, but ASUU demanded at least N110 billion. Government now says it will be put in the 2023 budget. Although the Government is preparing supplementary budget for 2022, these funds are not to be included.
Staff have been owed their Earned Academic Allowances for eight years now. Again the Government now says that they will put it in 2023 budget and start disbursement by June (when this Government will have left).
The university lecturers’ salaries were stopped after their February 2022 salaries were paid. The Government is threatening not to repay these salaries.
Hence, none of the demands for the ASUU strike have been met. Government came to the last meeting with its decision and said that it was not open for discussion, “take it or leave it”! The Government has yet to implement anything, at best they are only making promises to make payments next year. We can no longer trust the Government’s promises and it never delivers on them.
These issues and how we can still ensure an ASSU victory will be discussed at the Socialist Labour public meeting at 3pm on Saturday, 27th August – Zoom 81087529655
Biodun Olamosu, National Secretary, Socialist Labour