FG, ASUU resume re-negotiation of 2009 agreement
By Funmi Lawrence
The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have began a new renegotiation on the 2009 agreement.
Dr Wale Babalakin, Chairman, Federal Government renegotiation team hi spoke to newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday after a 6 hour meeting, said he was hopeful the meeting would yield result.
Babalakin disclosed that ASUU team submitted over 20 issues and that the issues were being looked into to forestall stability in the system.
He said that both sides was determined to put an end to the lingering problems in the system.
“We resume our renegotiation today. The government team and ASUU were appropriately represented and we have positive discussions and we are actually hopeful that we are on good part for finalising the negotiation.
“There were very hectic discussion on topical issues and both sides have extensive contributions for the benefits of varsity system.
” It is the same negotiation. We had an interim and that interim is over and we are now back to where we left it. So it is a continuous negotiations.
“ASUU submitted their timetable today and there are over 20 issues in that timetable, so it is not a singular issue to be discussed and they will all be discussed.
The three months old strike which commenced on Sunday 4th November, 2018, was suspended on February 8, 2019 following a memorandum of understanding that was signed by both parties.
When asked about the trust of their negotiation, he said: “In a negotiation, you have to seek the consent of the other party before you make such disclosures. But at the stage of signing an agreement we will be willing to tell you all the headlines and all the important issues”.
It was however, gathered that one of the contentious issue is the Needs Assessment intervention fund which the then administration of President Goodluck Jonathan committed to inject about N1.3 trillion over the period of 5 five years.
It was gathered that so far only N20 billion has been remitted to the designated account by the current administration.
President of ASUU, Ogunyemi, had in announcing the suspension of the strike in February said: “In addition to the N20 billion for 2018, the sum of N25 billion only would be released in April/May 2019, after which government would resume full implementation of the MoU of 2013.
“Part-payment of the outstanding arrears of the earned acedemic allowances; defraying the balance up to 2018 in 4 tranches within 36 months; and mainstreaming further payments of EAA into the annual budgets beginning from 2019 budget.
“PICA verification and the release of the arrears of salary shortfall at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, not later than 15th February 2019.
“Strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned Universities (CCSOU), inaugurated on Monday, 28th January, 2019 to look into the issues of proliferation, underfunding and governance to consistently deliver on its mandate,” he said among other issues.