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Thursday, 17 October 2013

ASUU Strike: FG Agrees On N200b In 2014 Budget On Universities

Towards ending the ongoing ASUU strike, the Federal
Government has committed to spending N200 billion in the
2014 budget on the universities as well as on each of the
next three-four years until the universities are brought to
world-class standard. This is in addition to the N100 billion
dedicated and already made available for 2013.
The government has also increased to N40 billion as a first
installment, funds for the payment of earned allowances to
the striking lecturers, an improvement from the N30 billion
previously released.
This information is contained in an internal Federal
University of Otuoke statement by Professor Bolaji Aluko, its
Vice-Chancellor, seen on Wednesday night by
SaharaReporters.
On the earned allowances, he explained, “Government will
top it up with further releases once universities are through
with the disbursement of this new figure of N40 million, so
Vice-Chancellors are urged to expedite this disbursement
within the shortest possible time using guiding templates that
have been sent by the CVC,” the circular said.
Professor Aluko said the development followed meetings on
September 19 and Oct 11 of representatives of the
Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, led
by CVC Chairman, Prof. Hamisu of ATBU and ASUU
Representatives led by its President, Dr. N. Fagge with the
Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Arc.
Namadi. Sambo, Minister of Education Barr. N. Wike and
others.
Of great interest to stakeholders, Vice-President Sambo,
appealing to ASUU to call off the strike, apologized for the
"take-it-or-leave-it" comments credited to the Minister of
Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at the onset of the strike.
The Minister did not seem to have been involved in either
meeting, perhaps as the government’s way of soothing the
feelings of the university teachers.
Other points of agreement at the meetings include the
following:
Project Prioritization: Universities will now be allowed to
determine their priorities and not be “rail-roaded” into
implementing a pre-determined set of projects with respect
to the NEEDS assessment. Decisions are not to be
centralized.
TETFund Intervention: Government assured that the
operations of the TETFund will not be impaired, and that the
regular TETFund intervention disbursement to Universities
will continue, unaffected. So the NEEDS assessment capital
outlays are in addition to regular TETFund intervention.
Project Monitoring: A new Implementation Monitoring
Committee (IMC) for the NEEDS Assessment intervention for
universities has been set up to take over from the Suswan
Committee. The new one is under the Federal Ministry of
Education and chaired by the Honorable Minister of
Education. In addition, to build confidence and ensure faithful
implementation and prevent any relapse as before, the Vice
President will meet quarterly with the IMC to monitor
progress.
Blueprint: ASUU was mandated to submit a blue print for
revitalizing the Universities to the Vice President.
Prof. Aluko further stated that a signed document will soon
be issued to itemize the full issues on which the consensus
he had outlined here, as brokered by AVCNU, was reached.