The Federal Government has offered a cumulative sum of N65 billion to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to address earned academic allowances and revitalisation of universities.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, made the proposal on behalf of the government to the striking lecturers when they met on Friday in Abuja.
Briefing reporters at the end of the meeting, he described the negotiation as fruitful as the government has decided to shift grounds on the lingering issues that have kept students out of the classroom for several months.
Ngige noted that in its bid to resolve the impasse with ASUU, the sum of N15 billion from the amount offered by the government would be for more funds to revitalise the universities.
He explained that the fund was in addition to the N20 billion paid earlier, making it a total of N35 billion committed as revitalisation fund by the government.
The minister gave an update on the visitation panel to the universities, noting that the panel would be inaugurated next week.
He also spoke about the payment system, as the union had rejected the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) of the government.
Ngige noted that representatives of the government and ASUU met over the University Transparency Account System (UTAS) proposed by the union, but it was still work in progress.
He stated that the Ministry of Labour and Employment, as well as the Ministry of Education, would use the previous payment platform of the government before it introduced IPPIS to pay the withheld salaries of the lecturers under strict monitoring.
The ASUU president, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, who also addressed reporters, acknowledged that the government has made some new offers to the union and progress has been made.
He, however, said the union leaders would report to their organs and get back to the government on the position of their members.
The Federal Government has resumed negotiation with members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the lingering strike by the union.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, presided over the meeting which held on Friday in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
In his opening remarks, the minister explained that the meeting should have reconvened before now but had to wait for inputs from all the ministries involved, as well as from President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It was not easy for us to get the necessary things, we just finished the last consultations two days ago,” he told the striking lecturers and others present at the meeting.
Ngige also appealed to the lecturers that the meeting should have a smooth and fruitful outcome that would lead to the reopening of schools.
On his part, the President of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, stated that the issue of withheld salaries of members should be first item on the agenda of Friday’s discussion.
Following the remarks by the minister and the ASUU President, the meeting went into a technical session.
At the last meeting held in October, Ngige said the Federal Government would present its last position on the strike to the lecturers at the next (Friday’s) meeting.
Both the government and ASUU have failed to reach a compromise over issues bordering on the payment platform, as well as unpaid earned allowances for lecturers and funds for university revitalisation, among others.
The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total of N604.004 billion October 2020 federation account revenue to the Federal, States, and Local Government Councils and agencies.
This was announced after the physical meeting of the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) for the month of October held at the Federal Ministry of Finance headquarters, Abuja.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by FAAC’s Director of Information, Hassan Dodo, the meeting was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Aliyu Ahmed.
“From this amount, inclusive cost of collection to NCS, DPR, and FIRS, the Federal Government received N220.751 billion, the States received N161.825 billion, the Local Government councils got N120.588 billion while the oil-producing states received N31.902 billion as derivation (13% of Mineral Revenue) and Cost of Collection/Transfer and Refunds got N48.939 billion,” the statement partly read.
SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:
The FG, States and LGCs share N604.004 billion for the month of October 2020.
The Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC), today at its meeting chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Alh. Aliyu Ahmed shared to the three tiers of government, a total sum of N604.004 billion as federation allocation for the month of October 2020.
From this amount, inclusive cost of collection to NCS, DPR and FIRS, the Federal Government received N220.751 billion, the States received N161.825 billion, the Local Government councils got N120.588 billion while the oil producing states received N31.902 billion as derivation (13% of Mineral Revenue) and Cost of Collection/Transfer and Refunds got N48.939 billion.
The communique issued by the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) at the end of the meeting, indicated that the Gross Revenue available from the Value Added Tax (VAT) for October, 2020 was N126.463 billion as against N141.858 billion distributed in the preceding month of September, 2020, resulting in a decrease of N15.395 billion. The distribution is as follows; Federal Government got N17.642 billion, the States received N58.805 billion, Local Government Councils got N41.167 billion, while Cost of Collection/Transfer and Refund got N5.059 billion and Allocation to NEDC project received N3.794 billion.
The distributed Statutory Revenue of N378.148 billion received for the month was higher than the N341.501 billion received for the previous month by N36.647 billion, from which the Federal government received N166.195 billon, States got N84.296 billion, LGCs got N64.989 billion, Derivation (13% Mineral Revenue) got N21.581 billion and Cost of Collection/ Transfer and Refund got N40.086 billion.
The communique also revealed that Oil and Gas Royalty, Companies Income Tax (CIT) increased substantially. Import Duty, Excise Duty, Value Added Tax (VAT), and Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT) according to the communiqué recorded decreases.
The communiqué further disclosed that the total revenue distributable for the current month was augmented with the sums of N72.000 billion, and N7.392 billion from Forex
Equalization and FGN Intervention respectively, including an augmentation of N20 billion from the Stabilization Account because of low revenue which is to be shared accordingly to the three tiers of government, bringing the total Distributable Revenue to N604.004 billion.
The balance in the Excess Crude Account as at 18th November 2020 stands at $72.409 million.
The Lufthansa, Air France/KLM have been given the approval by the Federal Government to resume operations into Nigeria.
This was announced by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, in a tweet on Tuesday.
The Minister in the tweet also hinted at the possible reopening of the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Port Harcourt International Airport, and Enugu Airport before the end of the year.
He added that Qatar Airways has been granted approval to resume flights to Abuja.
“We are working with Ministry of Health, CACOVID & The PTF to open Kano, Port Harcourt & possibly Enugu airports before the end of the year. Also Lufthansa, Air France/KLM have been given go-ahead to resume. Qatar Airways is approved to start Abuja. Thank you for your patience,” the Tweet read.
We are working with Ministry of Health, CACOVID & The PTF to open Kano, Port Harcourt & possibly Enugu airports before the end of the year. Also Lufthansa, Air France/KLM has been given go ahead to resume. Qatar Airways is approved to start Abuja. Thank you for your patience🙏🏽🇳🇬
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has said the Federal Government is addressing the concerns of the Nigerian youths on job creation, poverty alleviation among others.
He disclosed this on Friday in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, adding that the government’s commitment necessitated the creation of the National Youth Fund.
“Before the EndSARS protest, the Federal Government on its own has been addressing the concerns of youths, especially in the areas of job creation and poverty alleviation,” he said.
“This is why the Federal Government set up the National Youth Fund. The National Youth Fund is a N75billion fund which is meant to give opportunities to our younger elements to actualise their aspirations.
“This N75billion fund is part of the N2.3trillion Economic Sustainability Plan to cushion the effect of COVID-19.”
Speaking further, the Minister also listed other interventions of the Federal Government in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
One of these, he stated, is the setting up of the Micro Medium and Small Enterprises Survival Fund on owners of small businesses.
The meeting between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the current industrial action has commenced.
The meeting is, however, poorly represented by those negotiating on behalf of the Federal Government.
The Acting Chairman of Salaries, Income and Wages Commission is present, the Minister of Labour is mediating, the Accountant-General is represented, while the Minister of Finance, Minister of Education and the Executive Secretary National University Commission are absent.
In his opening remarks, the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, explained that their absence is as a result of the unfolding events at the National Assembly with the 2021 budget defence.
He, however, appealed to the lecturers on the need to resolve the issues and get students back to classrooms.
The meeting between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union Of Universities (ASUU) has once more failed to reach a decisive conclusion.
The closed-door meeting which was held on Wednesday at the conference room of the Ministry of Labour and Employment in Abuja lasted for five hours with newsmen being excused after opening remarks were made
ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, led the delegation of striking lecturers to the meeting which had the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in attendance.
In his opening remarks, the Minister said the Federal Government sees the meeting as a top priority and efforts were being made to ensure that Universities reopen as soon as possible.
The ASUU delegation, however, insisted that lecturers will not register on the Government Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), but would prefer the platform of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution when it is established.
While details of the meeting appear vague there appears to be no conclusive agreement as both parties refused to speak to the press
Earlier in the month, Dr Chris Ngige, said that Government had pledged to pay the sum of N40 billion with N30 billion to be paid on or before 6th November, while the remaining N10 billion would bespread equally over two tranches to be paid on May 2021 and February 2022.
The Federal Government has promised to pay the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) N30bn on or before November 6, 2020, as part of the pending Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) of University teachers.
This was the outcome of the ongoing dialogue between the Federal Government and ASUU.
At the meeting on Thursday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said that Government has pledged to pay the sum of N40 billion.
He explained that out of that amount, N30 billion would be paid on or before 6th November, while the remaining N10 billion would be spread equally over two tranches to be paid on May 2021 and February 2022.
“The Government’s commitment to pay was in response to the demand by ASUU for the payment of two tranches of EAA which cumulate to N40 billion that has become overdue since November 2019.”
The minister said that though the Federal Government agreed to fulfil its financial obligations to ASUU members, particularly outstanding salaries and earned allowances, the parties could not agree on the mode of payment.
“The government’s side appealed to ASUU to enroll on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) platform in the meantime, and migrate back to the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) after its efficacy had been proven through the necessary integrity tests. The Union refused, insisting on being exempted from IPPIS.
“The meeting also agreed that if UTAS passes all the different stages of the integrity test, which would involve the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), and after ascertaining its efficacy, it would be adopted for the payment of the University staff.”
Dr Ngige further revealed that the government also offered to pay, by the end of January 2021, the sum of N20 billion as funding for the revitalization of public universities, as well as seek for sources of alternative and additional funding of the university system, among other conclusions.
Earlier, the Minister had expressed a belief that the series of recent meetings, including the one convened on Tuesday by the Senate President, and activities such as the integrity test on UTAS done on Wednesday, would all culminate in the resolution of the crisis.
“At the meeting with the Senate President, we agreed on a work plan to achieve full conciliation so that students would go back to school.
“With the work done so far, both at the meeting with the Senate President and at the test run of the UTAS done at the Accountant-General’s office on Wednesday, we believe we will be able to break the ice.”
He explained that UTAS was designed strictly for the University system and could only be applied there, emphasising that Government never said it would use it to replace IPPIS.
“The situation is that the University system developed and configured UTAS to accommodate the peculiarities of that system as it affects the academic and even the non-academic staff.”
The Minister added that the government’s condition for considering UTAS as a suitable payment system for the University has always been that it would necessarily undergo three stages of the integrity test.
He disclosed that the first leg of the test had been done on Wednesday, while the two remaining stages would be done subsequently.
Also speaking, the president of ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, appealed to Government to treat the matter as a national emergency, as the Education sector needed urgent intervention.
“Education is in serious crisis; university education in particular needs urgent intervention. Unless it gets that, it would be difficult to achieve the desired stability in the system.”
He commended the government’s efforts towards a speedy resolution of the crisis and hoped that the process, which parties to the dispute had embarked on, would ultimately lead to a satisfactory solution.
Present at the meeting were the Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, SAN; Executive Chairman, National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta; Permanent Secretary, Labour and Employment, Dr Yerima Peter Tarfa, among others.
The meeting will be continued on Wednesday, 21st October to enable the leadership to consult their organs on the conclusions reached at this last meeting.
The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says the Federal Government is thoughtful and sensitive about the young people in the country.
Speaking during a media parley on Thursday in Abuja, Osinbajo said the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is focused on investing in infrastructure that will provide opportunities for young people to express themselves and become entrepreneurs.
He, therefore, said young people should believe that the government will do its best to attend to their demands as long as the resources are available.
“What young people need to know is that this government is thoughtful, sensitive and concerned about them,” he said.
“We intend to do the very best that we can given the resources that we have. The youths must also see that we were very quick to respond to make amends where we see that things may not be exactly right.”
Protesters Storm NASS
Protesters against police brutality and extra-judicial killings have taken their demonstration to the National Assembly complex in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
The protesters in their numbers on Thursday stormed the complex displaying placards lamenting extra-judicial killings and demanding justice for victims of police brutality.
They sang songs of solidarity, recited the national anthem, and chanted ‘EndSWAT!’ ‘EndSWAT!’.
Security agents could, however, be seen forming a barricade at the entrance to the National Assembly complex.
Thousands of protesters across the country have been protesting in the last one week against the harassment, extortion, and extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the Nigeria Police Force.
The police authorities in response to the outcry of the protesters disbanded the SARS unit and announced the setting up of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) unit as its replacement but the protests and demonstrations continue nationwide with hashtags #EndSWAT, #EndSARS, #EndPoliceBrutality dominating social media trends.
The discussions between the Federal Government and organised labour over the recent electricity tariff increase seems to be yielding a positive result.
This comes after the Federal Government on Sunday agreed to provide a tariff relief of 10 naira 20 kobo per kilowatt of electricity for Nigerians for the next three months and also massively distribute free meters to electricity consumers.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo announced this in a communique posted on his twitter handle, following the expiration of the 2-week suspension of the increased electricity tariff yesterday.
1. Labour & Govt have adopted these Resolutions of the Adhoc Committee I chaired. Highlights include using VAT proceeds to temporarily subsidize tariffs whilst my Committee will work for two more months to resolve other issues that may substantially affect tariff adjustments. pic.twitter.com/xbbs1QRUl8
He said the Federal Government will use VAT proceeds to temporarily subsidize tariffs while the Adhoc committee will work for two more months to resolve other issues regarding tariff adjustments.
According to the Minister, “other immediate reliefs include the provision of six million free meters to Nigerians, salary protection for electricity workers, a mandatory refund for any overbilling during system transition by the discos, monthly publication by NERC of allowed billing of unmetered customers, etc.”
Mr. Keyamo added that the Adhoc committee set up by the Federal Government and organised labour last month agreed to adopt a two-phase approach to proffer solutions to resolve issues in the sector on a medium-term basis.
Labour had suspended its planned industrial action after the Federal Government suspended the tariff increase pending the outcome of their negotiation.
The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), in January approved the immediate review of electricity tariffs across the country.
A review of the new amount to be paid by various categories of electricity consumers indicates an increase that ranges from 59.7 per cent to 77.6 per cent.
Consumers classified as residential (R1) were, however, excluded from the review as the N4 per kWh they pay was left unchanged.
The development affected the 11 Distribution Companies (DISCOs) spread across the country such as Abuja DISCO, Benin DISCO, Enugu DISCO, and Eko DISCO.
Others are Ibadan DISCO, Ikeja DISCO, Jos DISCO, Kaduna DISCO, Kano DISCO, Port Harcourt DISCO, and Yola DISCO.
According to the latest order, the new amount to pay varies among categories of electricity consumers such as residential, commercial, industrial, special, and lighting.
The Federal Government has renewed its commitment to degrade the bandits, insurgents and other criminal elements along Nigeria’s borders.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola disclosed this on Monday at the passing out parade of 320 immigration officers who underwent training in Kano to participate in a special operation in the north-western part of the country.
Aregbesola said the increasing number of security personnel at the borders will not only check the proliferation of light weapons and contrabands but also cripple the activities of bandits, insurgents and kidnappers.
He added that the operation is a definitive military initiative to respond to criminal activities in northwestern Nigeria, with a view to restoring peace and security in the area.
While observing that much has been committed to training them, the Minister asked the immigration officials to justify the same by being professional in all their doing to protect the country from influx and infiltration by irregular migrants, calling for support for the Military in the region.
He noted that the nature of the border communities calls for the NIS-Border Community relationship to safeguard the borders.
Speaking further, Aregbesola asked the immigration personnel to gather intelligence from community members who will only share information available to them when they have confidence in the operatives.
In his remarks, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Muhammad Babandede, assured that the training will equip his men to perform excellently in securing the north-west.
The NIS warned the officers against compromise in the cause of their duty, reiterating that the service will not tolerate non-challant attitude and arbitrary abuse of their duty call.
But after a meeting that started late Sunday and ended in the early hours of Monday, both parties struck a deal to suspend the strike for two weeks.
“We reached accord to suspend the planned strike action, great responsibility for both Govt and Labour, all serving the common good, beneficial challenge for NNPC, we will follow through diligently,” Kyari tweeted on Monday.
We reached accord to suspend¹ the planned strike action, great responsibility for both Govt and Labour, all serving the common good, beneficial challenge for NNPC, we will follow through diligently. pic.twitter.com/vl4u3wQf48
Fuel prices increased earlier this month as the deregulation of the country’s petroleum downstream sector continued to take shape.
Earlier on Monday, Kyari noted that the labour union’s understood the “inevitability” of deregulation and are working with the government to develop local refining sufficiency.
“NLC and TUC demonstrated absolute faith in our country and showed understanding on inevitability of PMS deregulation and jointly charted way forward to secure local refining sufficiency through greater stakeholder inclusiveness and transparency,” he said. “We will follow through diligently.”