The senate has adviced the education minister to dodge administrative bottlenecks and fast-track the implementation of all agreements reached with the Academic Staff Union of Univeristies two years ago to enable the lecturers call off their three-day-old strike.
The senate education committee issued the advice on Wednesday in a meeting with the education minister, Ruqqayatu Rufa’i, where it criticised the Federal government over the continuous delay in the full implementation of the agreements.
Chairman of the Senate Committee Uche Chukwumerije decried the persistent delay of the implementation of the agreement which the minister insisted was “in process.”
“You keep saying there are processes,” Mr Chukumerije said. “These processes, are they made in the moon or Jupiter? Why can’t these processes be sped up?’’
“As far as government is concerned, we have not just run away and slept without looking at the agreement, negotiations are still on,” the education minister said.
The education minister told the Committee that out of the 19 agreements, nine had been fully implemented, eight were at a substantial level of implementation while two were yet to be implemented.
“Payment of earned academic allowances is yet to be fully implemented because it is yet to be determined who will take responsibility for the payment,” the education minister said.
“The required sum is N106 billion or so, we don’t know who will pay, whether the Federal Government or the Universities but some Universities say their internally generated revenue cannot cover it,” she added.
She said the establishment of the Nigeria Universities Pension Management Company is yet to be implemented because the university unions are not agreed on modalities.
One of the pending issues on the agreement list is the extension of university lecturers’ retirment to 70 years. A bill to effect that agreement could not receive priority attention from the lawmakers of the previous national assembly and Mr Chukwumerije only explained that the “National Assembly was fast-tracking the Bill.”