FG approves payment of N25bn earned academic allowances for ASUU
The Federal Government Tuesday said it approved additional N25 billion payment as Earned Academic Allowances for the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
It was learnt that the money is part-payment contained in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) the union signed with the government.
The Muhammadu Buhari administration said the N25 billion was aside the N20 billion it released last year to public universities across the country.
Adamu was accompanied by the Minister of State for Education, Prof. Anthony Anwukah, and Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
The minister said all universities in the country had benefitted from the N20 billion released last year by the Buhari-led Federal Government.
He said the Buhari administration inherited an un-implementable agreement of N1.3 trillion when it assumed office in 2015.
Adamu said: “Let me inform you that the Federal Government has just approved an additional N25 billion to be shared to beneficiary institutions directly. Last year, the Federal Government released N20 billion directly to universities. As I speak, all universities have got their share of the N20 billion.
“The sad news is that the N200 billion that was released to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) since 2013 for the universities has not been fully accessed. In specific terms, all the 73 public varsities have accessed the first tranche of 50 per cent of the N200 billion.
“For the second tranche of 40 per cent, only 56 institutions have been able to access their funds. The last 10 per cent, representing the third tranche of the N200 billion, has not been accessed at all.”
In his address, titled: Education for Change: Our Stewardship in the Last Four Years, the minister said the government invested N1.338 trillion on the sector in the last four years.
Adamu said: “In spite of the economic downturn, we have done well in terms of investment in capital expenditure. The Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) interventions in states have recorded a total of N350 billion, while Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) and NEED Assessment interventions have recorded N857 billion with the main ministry and other agencies recording N86 billion, totalling N1.338 trillion in the last four years.
“This is aside the N25 billion just approved for public universities. These figures have nothing to do with personnel and overhead cost in the Education sector, which are also well over N1 trillion.
“Private sector investment in the Education sector – from the basic, secondary and tertiary levels – far outweighs government investment. Our aggregate expenditure in the Education sector (public and private), therefore, exceeds the much touted 20 per cent of our national budget. We are poised to do more.”
Adamu said the Buhari administration had laid a good foundation for dealing with the challenges posed by the out-of-school children and the huge number of adult illiterates.
“If we continue on this path, in the next 10 years, Nigeria’s challenges in this twin direction will be confined to the dustbin of history.
“On basic, secondary and tertiary education, we shall continue on the path of infrastructural and manpower development, increasing capacity and creating unfettered access to all levels of our education for our young people,” he added.
ASUU President Biodun Ogunyemi said the N25 billion was supposed to be released by government to its members in March as part of the MoA it signed with the union.
The union leader said he could not confirm if members of the union had received the funds or not.
The ASUU president said the N20 billion that had been fully accessed by its members was for revitalisation of universities across the country.
Ogunyemi added: “I can’t confirm if the money has been released to our members. We still have issues with the money.
“The N25 billion is part of the Earned Academic Allowances for our members. It is a part-payment. We have been chasing that money to be released to us. The money was supposed to be released on March 28 but the government released only N20 billion, leaving a balance of N5 billion.
“The balance is supposed to be mainstreamed into 2019 budget.”