THE ISSUE OF ASUU WILL SOON COME TO AN END SAYS MINISTER OF LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT, CHRIS NGIGE.

The Federal Government says the issue of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would soon be resolved.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed this on Tuesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today .

Ngige said the Ministries of Finance, Education, Labour and Employment and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation will meet with the body.

The issue of ASUU will soon come to an end,” he said. “Two reasons – ASUU have called the Federal Government represented by Finance and the Accountant-General Office and their direct employers, the Ministry of Education to come for the test.”

Ngige’s remarks come three days after ASUU said it had not called off its nationwide industrial action which started in March.

Although no date has been fixed for the next meeting with ASUU, a letter is to be sent to the union before the end of the week as a measure of goodwill, to urge the leadership of the union to suspend their action so that schools can resume.

In a bid to resolve the lingering Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, the Federal Government has decided to subject the union’s alternative salary payment platform, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), to integrity test.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who disclosed this yesterday said government would in the weeks ahead invite ASUU to come and demonstrate UTAS, which the union claimed was its alternative to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) put in place by government for all federal institutions.

Ngige who said ASUU was about the only union still having misgivings IPPIS, assured that government was doing everything possible to ensure the matter was resolved so that students would not be stranded when universities resume.

He confirmed that ASUU has written him on its development of UTAS, adding that platform would be subjected to integrity test by the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General’s office where IPSS is domicile.

“Is only ASUU that said they are on strike, that they went on strike before the COVID, they are not yet back from the COVID but in the next week or so we will deal with that because they have written me now to say that they have developed University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) which they said it is their own alternative to IPPIS.

“So, we will invite them so that they can demonstrate it to the Ministry of Finance and the Accountant General’s office where IPSS is housed and we will subject the things to integrity test.But subjecting them to integrity test will also take some time. So, inbetween the test and everything, we will agree on what we are going to be doing, because for now, most of them are already on IPPIS even though they complained about some shortcomings.”

The minister noted that many students were due for graduation but for the COVID-19 pandemic hence the need to ensure that nothing obstructs academic session when schools reopen.

“So, we are trying to arrange a meeting so that we can all meet and agree on modus oparandi, so that when universities reopen as we expect in the weeks to come, the teachers will go and teach their students.”

Ogunyemi disclosed that UTAS software was presented to the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu and other senior management of the Federal Ministry of Education, including Executive Secretary of National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, for government to subject the software to integrity tests.

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