The Nigerian government has said it is now ready to pay about N34 billion arrears of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments in the education sector effective from 2019.
The confirmation was given by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige.
According to him, this was aimed at resolving the lingering strike crisis in the sector.
Ngige made this known while speaking with newsmen on the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and others in Abuja.
Ngige said that the beneficiaries of the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments included the members of the striking ASUU and their counterparts in the polytechnics and Colleges of Education.
According to Ngige, the universities will get N23.5 billion, the polytechnics N6 billion and the Colleges of Education N4 billion, bringing the total sum to N33.5 billion.
The minister, while giving an update on the ongoing strike, said committees were set up during the last tripartite meeting of the government and university based unions.
He said they were given a fortnight to turn in their report, adding they were still working and the reports of the committees were being expected at the end of the week.
“Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three platforms, the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
“Also the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) of ASUU and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) of the non-teaching staff.
“They started the testing last Thursday. The National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) has issued their amendment circulars.
“The unions also have copies to take care of responsibility and hazard allowances wherever it has not been properly captured.’’
Ngige assured that there might likely be wage adjustments as the government intensified efforts to streamline wages through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.
“For example, we have done it for the police . It wasn’t envisaged that we should do it in pockets.
“You can also see university teachers saying that their own should be done immediately, since we have done for the police. So, something is being done. It was part of the 2009 negotiation they had with the government then.
“So, the committee of Prof. Briggs is on it, discussing with the university unions and their employer, the Federal Ministry of Education. They will bring up something for the government to see.
“There are other people. The doctors are complaining about brain-drain, this and that. Their hazard allowance has to be touched and it was touched by close to 300 per cent.
“From N5, 000 paid across board for each person, the least person in the health sector is getting N15, 000, while the big ones are getting N45, 000. So, that is the quantum leap.’’he added.
The minister therefore, appealed to ASUU and other university-based unions once more to suspend their strike so that academic activities could resume once again in public universities across the country.