ASUU begs FG to adopt UTAS as its payment system
The Academic Staff Union of Universities, on Friday, appealed to the Federal Government to stop foot-dragging on adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solutions, as a reliable payment system for varsity lecturers.
The union also described as unfortunate and worrisome the Federal Government’s alleged delay tactics in releasing funds for the revitalisation of public universities.
ASUU equally berated the delay in the release of the May 2021 tranche of Earned Academic Allowances of its members.
The Coordinator of Nsukka Zone of ASUU, Raphael Amokaha, who spoke during a media briefing shortly after the union’s zonal meeting, said ASUU was warming up to continue its suspended industrial action should FG remain adamant.
Amokaha told journalists that the meeting deliberated on the proliferation of state-owned universities without requisite funding.
He explained that ASUU rejected the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System from inception because of its failure to cater for the peculiarities of the Nigerian university system, and called on the FG to adopt UTAS, which he said, had been subjected to a series of integrity tests.
He said, “ASUU, therefore, cannot understand the continued delay by government in adopting and deploying UTAS as an alternative to IPPIS, which has failed in all ramifications.
It is to be noted that this government has advocated local content in our development efforts. UTAS is a home-grown programme that has been shown to be a viable solution to a Nigerian problem.
“There is no rational consideration why government should be foot-dragging instead of adopting and deploying UTAS with excitement that its own academic industry has come up with a cutting-edge solution.
On the issues of funding for revitalisation of public universities and earned academic allowances, ASUU-Nsukka Zone is aware that letters were to be written by 3rd August, 2021 from the Ministry of Education to the Central Bank of Nigeria to transfer funds for the revitalisation of public universities to the NEEDS Assessment account; and same Ministry of Education was to write another letter to the Ministry of Finance to release the May 2021 tranche of Earned Academic Allowances and copy the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Actions are still being awaited on these issues. Efforts were also to be made by the Ministry of Finance to release 10.9 per cent of N203bn (N22.127bn) already appropriated in the budget of 2021; this too is yet to be done.
“The zone is worried that the urgency in writing inter-ministerial letters only comes to play when there are meetings between government and our union. It then becomes a heavy task for us to give government the benefit of the doubt that it is not engaging in delay tactics by using patronising phraseology.”
ASUU Zonal Coordinator in Port Harcourt Zone, Stanley Ogoun, said the union was not interested in another industrial action, and urged the Federal Government to do the needful.
Ogoun said, “Fellow masses, please ask the government to prove us wrong, that strike is not the only language they understand. Why compel us to disrupt academic activities again on our campuses, when we are yet to recover from the COVID-19 assault?
“By deliberately rejecting and frustrating all overtures for peace, the government has spoken unequivocally that strike is the only language they understand.
Our union is painfully resisting all attempts by the government to compel us to proceed on strike so as to blackmail our union as they do with all labour unions in the country.”