The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said the allegations of N800 billion by the Minister of Labour and Employment were baseless and the union had not refused an invitation from the government for negotiation during its ongoing strike.
The ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this in a reply to the allegations against the Union by the minister of Labour, Chris Ngige.
He said, “ASUU has never declined an invitation to a negotiation meeting with the government. What we asked government representatives to do was to send us their response to the last letter we sent to them.
“ASUU leadership has been holding Zoom meetings with its members. We need to be sure of what is coming from the government before accepting to attend any meeting. How can they claim to have invited us to a meeting without a clear agenda or any letter of invitation?
“On the N800 billion, this is pure mischief. We are thoroughly embarrassed that such reckless and baseless allegation could be credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment.
“In the first place, is ASUU responsible for the management of the payroll and personnel information in the universities? Secondly, how many of those responsible for the so-called “double payments” has the government apprehended, tried, and jailed to serve as deterrents?”
The union added that it did not regard Ngige as an “objective arbiter, and we are not surprised because he is part of the government.”
Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has said He said the FG had lost N800bn to the old system of paying lecturers and there will be no going back in paying university lecturers with the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
Ngige said there were anomalies with GIFMIS, including cases of ghost workers and people receiving more than their due. He said in the old payment order, taxes deducted by “bursars and vice-chancellors were not reflective of the taxes of Pay as You Earn.”
“They are not and because they are not, the shortfall in the taxes they deducted, the various state governments were those universities are domiciled have petitioned the Joint Tax Board to demand for this shortfall to be paid by the Federal Government, which is the principal employer of these university teachers.
“And over sometime, that has accumulated into about N800bn which the Joint Tax Board has billed the Federal Government as money that have not been paid to those sub-national governments, the state governments,” he stated.
He said the IPPIS would take care of all the shortcomings.