The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has called the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to stop distorting facts about funds released to the union.
President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, made this comment in an interview with The Nation newspaper over the weekend.
Ogunyemi said the ongoing strike was still lingering due to a few disagreements between the government and the union on the mode of releasing the agreed funds.
The ASUU President said the comment credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige that N163 billion was released to the Union was a distortion of facts.
This online news platform recalls that Ngige had made the statement in Abuja last week Monday while speaking with journalists after a closed-door reconciliatory meeting with the leadership of the union.
“Government has released about N163 billion from TETFund account to universities. So, we have gotten some substantial agreement in most of the areas of the agreement,” the minister had said.
“Most of the issues are being resolved, so they are going to go back to their members and present government’s offer to their council,” Ngige had added.
Reacting, the ASUU President revealed that the N163 billion mentioned by Ngige was released to the Universities by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFUND, to meet specific needs in the universities and not the revitalization fund being demanded by the unions.
His words: “The Minister of Labour referred to the release of N163bn which was not released by the Ministry of Education for revitalization. That fund he alluded to was from TETFUND.
“TETFUND was there when we carried out the NEEDS Assessment in 2012. What we called Revitalisation Fund today is a product of that exercise of 2012. We have always drawn a line of distinction between what TETFUND gives and what we should access from the NEEDS Assessment Fund. They are different terms of interventions that should not be equated to one.
“TETFUND as an intervention agency is ASUU brainchild which became a reality. The funds from the NEEDS Assessment is to fix specific items of deficiency in our system.
“Unfortunately, both federal and state governments have now relinquished their responsibilities to TETFUND. The Federal Government budget for education in term of capital project funding is worrisome.
“That is why we keep saying that the Ministry of Labour and Employment should stop saying N163bn has been released to ASUU.
“ASUU is not a spending agency of government. We don’t spend government money. When money is released, it goes to the universities and governing councils who are representatives of the government in the schools. It is a distortion if we say N163bn was released to ASUU,” Ogunyemi added.
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