Nigeria

Nigerian government to pay arrears of minimum wage to university staff October

Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said this while fielding questions on television concerning the time for payment of the new wage.

The federal government has given an undertaken to clear the arrears of the consequential adjustment on the new minimum wage owed members of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) by end of October.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who disclosed this at the end of a meeting between the federal government and the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the two unions, convened to examine the level of implementation of the Memorandum of Action it signed with the unions in February 2021, also revealed that the visitation panels deployed in the various universities have concluded their work and will submit their report by next week.

Ngige stated that the meeting agreed that the payment of the arrears be fast-tracked between now and the end of October, adding that arrears in salary and promotion had been captured in the 2021 Supplementary Budget.

He said it was not the government’s intention to owe its workers, but that the delay was caused by the difficulty in getting the actual number of people qualified for the arrears, as a lot of people had joined the service from 2020 up, while the period of the arrears spanned 19th April – 31st December, 2019.

On earned allowances by relevant organisations (universities, polytechnics, colleges of education), Ngige said the JAC would update the National Universities Commission (NUC) on the outstanding amount owed its members, while the NUC was given two weeks to do the appropriate reconciliation.

In a statement signed by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Mr Charles Akpan, the minister said the meeting agreed to correct the anomalies in the payment of hazard allowance caused by an error in the printing, which had seen all members collecting the same sum of money across the board, with no distinction between senior and junior staff.

Regarding the responsibility allowance, where heads of the unit were omitted, Ngige disclosed that their employers had been given two weeks to rectify the anomalies to enable the affected people to get the appropriate allowance due to them.

On the issue of the Renegotiation of FGN/SSANU/NASU 2009 Agreement, Ngige stated that the unions and NUC would agree on a date to meet, as the secretariat of the Renegotiation Committee is ready.

The minister stated that as the Visitation Panels for universities, constituted by the government, had finished their work and would present their reports next week, the meeting agreed that government should, as soon as possible, issue the appropriate White Paper for implementation.

Ngige also stated that the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation reported that out of 293 claims received, all had been processed with 273 paid, and the 20 outstanding would be paid as soon as possible.

The minister however said that the meeting stepped down some issues billed for discussion because of the unavoidable absence of the relevant officers –inconsistencies in IPPIS payments, and update on teaching staff usurping headship of non-teaching units in clear violation of condition of service and establishment procedures.

He said that the meeting was adjourned to the end of October, adding that meanwhile, all the complaints would continue to be handled administratively, as timelines had been put on some of the outstanding issues.

The spokesperson, Joint Action Committee, Adeyemi Peters, described the meeting as fruitful, stating that their interactions with the government are a work in progress, which would continue till the agreements are fully implemented.

He said the meeting was essentially to take stock of the implementation of the agreements the unions signed with the federal government on 25th February, 2021.

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