The Federal Government on Wednesday said there is no Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between it and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) awaiting the signature of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minister of Works and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, made this known on Wednesday in a statement by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Olajide Oshundun.
Ngige noted that even though such a CBA was drawn up between the union and the Federal Government, it was not the President who would sign it but the ruling party, MDA led by the direct employer and the Ministry of Reconciliation testifying.
The Minister accused ASUU of fixing its salaries and allowances through the Nimi Briggs Committee to the exclusion of statutory government departments and agencies that manage all annual government finances, budgetary and fiscal policy and the Office of the Head of Service responsible for ensuring that the rules and regulations of the public service are not undermined by any terms of service offered to public officials at universities.
According to him, Professor Briggs’ proposal for a 109-185% increase in the salary structure in the universities would only cost the Federal Government N560 billion in salaries in addition to the current N412 billion.
He added that N1.12tn would be needed for the payment of salaries and allowances of university lecturers and other staff in the university system.
The statement read: “This clarification has become necessary in view of the barrage of deliberate misinformation being fed to Nigerians by the President of ASUU, Prof. Osodeke as well as his branch leaders and called on President Buhari to sign the agreement they claimed to have reached with the Federal Government.
“We therefore wish to inform Nigerians that there is no such Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that has been reached between the Federal Government, ASUU and other university unions to renegotiate their salaries and allowances (wages). What exists is a suggestion. Even when such a CBA is created, it is not the president who signs it. From available records, no Nigerian president or sovereign signs it.
“The real position is that Nigerians are aware that ASUU is on strike from February 14, 2022 and they are locked in negotiations on their demands, especially their conditions of service – wages, salaries, allowances and other public service matters which should be followed. by the relevant ministries and agencies of the federal government – the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Labor and Employment, the Budget Office of the Federation, the National Commission for Salaries, Income and Wages, the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation through the newly established prof. Nimi Briggs Committee.
“Note that Prof. Nimi Brigg’s committee, as well as Prof. Munzali, who replaced him, is an internal committee of the Ministry of Education that receives ASUU’s demands and renegotiates areas of the 2009 agreement while receiving input from the aforementioned MDAs, who act as advisors, before presenting any counter-offer to ASUU and other unions.
“Unfortunately, ASUU insisted that these relevant advisory MDAs waive the Briggs committee meeting and accused them of non-cooperation. All alone with Professor Briggs’ committee, ASUU began to adjust its salaries and allowances to the exclusion of statutory government departments and agencies that manage all annual government finances, budget and fiscal policy, and the Office of the Head of Service, which is responsible for ensuring that public service rules and regulations they were not undermined by any terms of service offered to public officials in universities.
“In view of this expulsion by ASUU and the resulting complaints against the Chief of Staff to the President and the Honorable Minister of Labor and Employment by the concerned MADs, the Chief of Staff and the Honorable Minister of Labor have set up an Inter-Ministerial/Sub-Committee of the Agency consisting of the concerned MDAs under the Minister of State Budget and Planning to he quickly looked into the report of the committee of prof. Briggs, which was apparently still a proposal in the June 2022 cabinet meeting. This task was to be completed with the President’s Salaries and Wages Committee and given two weeks to submit their recommendations.
“Having concluded its work, the commission returned as a verdict; that with Professor Briggs’ proposal of 109-185% increase in the salary structure of the University, the Federal Government will get an additional N560b as salaries alone, on top of the current N412B, minus all other allowances such as Merit Academic Allowances and Fringe Benefits, Tuition Allowance, Excursion, Responsibility and Post Graduate Supervision, Surcharges, Hazard Allowances which were to swallow another N170B.
“A total of N1.12 trillion will be needed to pay the salaries and allowances of university teachers and other staff of the university system. Currently, the salary costs of university employees and their colleagues in Teaching Health Systems absorb almost 50% of the total personnel costs/wages of federal government employees. Let us recall that the employees of polytechnics and colleges of education also placed their salary overview in the leading position two months ago. This is the same as the doctors and JOHESU who presented to the federal government, the need for salary revision, which the government agrees that despite the 10% salary revision, following the 2019 minimum wage and subsequent revision, its employees will need some salary increase for all sectors and only for employees in education or healthcare.
“Currently, the President’s Committee on Salaries and Wages has completed its review of Professor Nimi Briggs’ proposal and will soon present it to the President. This removes any doubt that there is an agreement waiting for the President to sign. Is none!
“On UTAS, UPPPS and IPPIS, Nigerians will remember that IPPIS was a legacy payment platform that was meant to operate alongside the corrupt defunct GIFMIS platform. However, due to morale issues, inflated personal expenses, non-payment of PAYE taxes by federal employees in the states to their respective state governments who turned to collect these taxes, and the difference from the federal government through a joint tax. The government has decided to make the IPPIS payment platform single and mandatory for all federal government employees who draw remuneration from the federal government treasury.
“However, ASUU and other university staff have complained that IPPIS does not capture the peculiarities of the university system;