By Chuks Ekpeneru
Hopes of an end to the eight-month strike embarked on by university lecturers brightened on Friday as the Federal Government accepted the demand of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU to exempt the lecturers from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, IPPIS.
The breakthrough in the negotiation followed a seven-hour meeting between the government and ASUU delegation in Abuja.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige who read out a comminique said government shifted grounds on a number of issues, including the insistence that all the academic staff of the federal universities must be paid through the IPPIS platform.
He said that the salary arrears of the lecturers from February to June will be paid through the old salary payment platform, Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System.
According to the Minister “We are also reviewing how the lecturers will be paid on the old platform until UTAS is ready for usage.
“We agreed also that the withheld salaries are the component of the issue of ‘no work, no pay’ that was invoked and the Minister of Education and myself are working on that to get approval for the lifting of the embargo.
“This is a transition period between the formalization of UTAS, and as soon as we finish this, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, the National Universities Commission and the Vice Chancellors are to work together to make sure that the withheld salaries are paid through the old platform, which the Accountant General’s office used in paying the salaries of university workers that were not captured on IPPIs for the months of February, March, April, May and June.”
Ngige said government also offered to raise the Earned Allowances to university staff from N30bn to N35bn and the revitalization fund from N20bn to N25bn.