The federal government says it has not adopted the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) as the payment platform for lecturers.
In an interview on Monday, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), said the federal government had agreed to adopt UTAS.
ASUU has been on strike since February 14 over the government’s failure to implement its demands on salaries and allowances of lecturers, improved funding for universities as well as the adoption of UTAS against the federal government’s preferred payment platform — Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
“We have not had any serious communication though they have invited us for a meeting on one issue, tomorrow (referring to Tuesday), which is the issue of renegotiation. You know that there are seven issues why we are on strike. They are inviting for discussion on the issue of renegotiation, tomorrow, which is the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.
“The issues of IPPIS and UTAS have been put to rest because the test has been done and it has been agreed with the chief of staff, UTAS will be implemented to cover the university,” Osodeke had said on Channels Television.
But at a briefing on ‘Reforms in The Education Sector in Nigeria’ at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said the issue of UTAS was still being deliberated upon.
He said a committee has been set to look into it and that of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) known as the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS).
Adamu also said an estimated N2.5 trillion has been invested in Tertiary education in the last 10 years, adding that the amount was invested through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
He said the amount exceed the N1.2 Trillion contained in the 2009 agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and still counting.
He added that President Muhammadu Buhari had expended a total of N6,003,947,848,237 in capital and recurrent expenditure in the education sector in the last seven years.
While noting that this is more than any other administration in the history of the Nation, Adamu added, “Common knowledge as it were, many Nigerians may not know that the Federal Government is paying the salaries of every staff in its tertiary institutions, academic and non-academic staff, while these institutions are also in full control of their Internally Generated Revenues (IGR).”
While noting that the Unions in Tertiary Institutions in the country, especially ASUU, have been engaged in recurring and avoidable strikes that have crippled the university system, he said, “We are doing everything humanly possible to conclude the negotiations. It is our hope that the outcome of the renegotiations will bring lasting industrial peace to our campuses. In the meantime, I am sure that the current efforts would yield the desired results and return our children back to school.”
He also noted that enormous resources have gone into various categories of training including PhDs, Master’s Degrees, and related research programs for staff of Universities, Polytechnics, and Colleges of Education.