FG moves to delist state varsities, others over inadequate funding

The federal government has announced plans to delist state varsities and others  not adequately funded in line with the rules setting them up.

To this end, the National Universities Commission has sent a bill to the National Assembly to strengthen its (NUC) arms to that effect.

Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige  announced this  Monday night while speaking on the sideline of a meeting with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Abuja.

“On the proliferation of state universities, a bill has been sent to the National Assembly by the NUC to strengthen its  arms in terms of delisting universities where funding and other parameters are inadequate. This effort was commended as all the parties agreed that mushrooming and proliferation of state universities, some of which mock the ideals of an ivory tower, should stop. 

“The inconsistencies in the IPPIS payment was also discussed. There was good interaction and documents were exchanged between IPPIS and  ASUU. ASUU is to go back to its members so that we can have a proper update on the extent of the inconsistencies in payment. We expressed our displeasure that these things are happening – amputation of salaries, not-too-clear, foggy things happening over peoples monthly  emoluments. So we have asked IPPIS and ASUU to work together over this,” the minister said. 

Speaking further on the meeting, Ngige said it evaluated seven key issues, with both parties expressing  satisfaction  with the  implementation stages of what he termed “work in progress. ” 

He said some of the items in the  Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) were  nearly done  hundred percent within the timeline. 

Nigige also said the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was directed to expedite action on the integrity test on the   University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) which if successful,  would  eliminate the challenges posed by the peculiarities of the university system to the current payment platform.  

The minister further said government had  paid the sum of N30billion as the University Revitalization Fund as contained in the MOA since January 2021.

The money, according to him, “is however, still lodged with the Central Bank of Nigeria, pending the conclusion of the audit  report of the Implementation Committee on the use of previous funds disbursement to universities by the Ministry of Education and the National University Commission.” 

“The report has been turned in , deliberated upon and  both the Education Ministry and the NUC have promised to write to the Accountant General of the Federation next week  for the release of the money to the NEEDS Special Account for onward disbursement to universities shortly,” he said.  

The minister added that the monies would  be  paid to  successful universities  based on the evaluation report of the committee, while those  with shortcomings would be made to make up before accessing the fund. 

He further disclosed that  apart from the N40billion Earned Allowance which the federal government had already paid, the Budget Office of the Federation  showed evidence that N22billion Earned Allowances for year 2021 was already captured in the 2021 supplementary budget of the federation, and would  soon be accessed.

Similarly, he  added that evidence was presented that promotion arrears had been paid to some universities while the Budget Office of the Federation and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation  were  asked to liaise with ASUU to sort out the rest.

The minister said  the standing committee on the matter  had been expended to include National Income Salaries and Wages Commission . 

“A situation where a university professor  is paid N107, 000 out of mistake  or over deduction is unacceptable,” Ngige declared.   

In his remarks, ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke expressed satisfaction with the outcome and promised  ASUU would  reach out  to  members.

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