The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, has said the Federal Ministry of Finance and National Planning will commence the disbursement of funds to universities on Wednesday.
The minister said the government is certain that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will not embark on the planned strike.
He stated this when he appeared on “Politics Today,” a political programme on Channels Television on Tuesday.
Victor Osodeke, the President of ASUU, on Monday, said the union will embark on another industrial action if the government continued to renege on the 2020 agreement.
The union had accused the federal government of failing to implement the agreement after it called off its nine-month-old strike in December 2020.
Mr Ngige said the government had already fulfilled the payment of the first tranche in January and was about to pay another N22.72 billion earned allowances.
He said the N30 billion revitalisation fund is already in the account of the National University Commission and ready for disbursement to the schools.
“What was agreed last year has been paid. These are subsequent payments that are due. That one has been paid in January February. This is the second tranche we are paying, N22.72 billion for this tranche. The N30 billion for revitalisation is also in the CBN account.”
He said the union is yet to inform his ministry of the planned strike even though he confirmed that he watched the press briefing where ASUU issued the ultimatum.
“Up till now, I have not gotten any communication from them. But that is not to say that I have not seen them addressing press conferences that they have issued an ultimatum. One of the mandates of the ministry is to stem industrial dispute,” he said.
Mr Ngige also downplayed the state of the government own schools, saying “It is not the way it is being painted. I have my children in some of the schools. One of them recently graduated.”
The minister lamented the level of funding of universities, arguing that funding cannot be left in the hands of the government alone. He said in his days as a student, education was not free for all the students.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Tuesday resolved to intervene to avert another strike by ASUU.
The resolution was sequel to a motion by Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo).
Also, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabimaila, called for a meeting with the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed and the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
The meeting will take place on Thursday at 2 pm.
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