By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Finance, Budget and National Planning Minister Zainab Ahmed has been asked by the House of Representatives along with other federal government agencies to clarify the disagreement over the use of a payment platform for teachers university in the country.
The government had said it would pay teachers’ salaries through the Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS), but members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) want the solution of transparency and accountability from universities (UTAS), arguing that the platform reflects the particularity of the university system.
Speakers have been on strike over this and other issues since February 14, 2022. On Tuesday, the leadership of the House of Representatives, led by its Speaker, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, had a meeting with leaders of the ASUU led by Professor Emmanuel Osodeke ironing out some issues to solve the problem.
Mr. Gbajabiamila, speaking to reporters after a 4-hour meeting with ASUU leaders and Ministry of Education officials led by Minister of State for Education, Mr. Goodluck Opiah, at the National Assembly in Abuja, noted that the Minister of Finance should brief the legislator on the matter of rolling out the payment platform.
He said Ms Ahmed would be required to appear on Thursday alongside the Accountant General of the Federation, the Auditor General of the Federation, the Chief Executive of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Chairman of the National Wages, Incomes and Wages Commission. .
The president said that after Thursday’s meeting, the House would meet President Muhammadu Buhari on his return from the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York to present the agreement reached with the strikers.
Mr. Gbajabiamila described Tuesday’s meeting as encouraging as some resolutions were taken.
The President said that as an independent body of the government, the meeting with the ASUU management was aimed at finding a solution to the persistent labor dispute and the seven areas of their demands in the hope of resolving them, so that striking lecturers return to school.
According to him, the meeting allowed the leadership of the House to present the agreed demands to the President in the hope that the matter would be quickly resolved.
While thanking the union leaders, Mr. Gbajabiamila also expressed his belief that the union leaders would go back to their members and convince them of the need to adhere to the solution with the leaders of the House to avoid undue delay in resolving the problem.
For his part, Professor Osodeke thanked the Speaker and House leaders for convening the meeting, which he said he hoped an amicable resolution would be reached after lawmakers met with Mr. Buhari later.