ASUU set to end strike as union, FG finally reach agreement – Newstrends
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ASUU set to end strike as union, FG finally reach agreement

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The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities ended an eight-hour meeting on Friday night with an indication that the union could call off its about nine-month strike next week.

Unlike the previous meetings usually ending in stalemate, both parties said after the meeting they had fruitful discussions at the Friday’s parley.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, addressing journalists shortly after the meeting held in Abuja, said that government had met all the demands of the union.

He said that ASUU would take the outcome of the meeting back to their members for ratification and revert to government with a resolution to call off the strike latest by Friday next week.

President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said that their talks were fruitful and that the union would in their usual practice take the outcome to the members before reverting to government on their resolution.

Ngige said at the beginning of the meeting that ASUU had submitted a written response to the government’s offer.

The government was said to have made further adjustments in its offer to ASUU ostensibly to avert another stalemate.

A week ago, the offer involved the amounts to be paid as Earned Allowances, revitalization fund and a pledge to offset their salary arrears.

The minister said, “What we said in the meeting and what we agreed was that in the interim (while) UTAS is being tested by NITDA and the Office of National Security Adviser for cybersecurity, the transition period, ASUU members that are not yet on the IPPIS will be paid through the platform with which they were paid the President’s compassionate COVID-19 payment done to them between the months of February and June.”

He also spoke on the new offer made to ASUU, saying prior to Friday’s meeting, government brought an aggregate offer of N50 billion to the union.

“The offer made is clear. You can understand it this way. Prior to the meeting of yesterday, government brought an aggregate offer of N50 billion to ASUU; N20 billion for revitalisation to show good faith that government is still with them on the issue of funding for revitalisation and pending the affirmation of the new sources of funding public education. There is a committee on that and the committee is working on sourcing new education funds; it is a NEEDS committee.

“So pending that NEEDS committee effecting a new funding source and strategy, government offered them N20 billion for revitalisation apart from the funds that are coming from TETFUNDS that is also used for revitalisation. They refused the N20 billion and said that they want N110 billion and that N110 billion is 50 per cent of a tranche of N220 billion. Government said they don’t have that kind of money and then increased that N20 billion by N5 billion to become N25 billion and if it becomes N25 billion, the Earned Allowances will be raised to N40 billion immediate payment making for a total of N65 billion for revitalisation and Earned Allowances in the universities.

“Government then said alternatively, ASUU could opt for the revitalisation to move up to N30 billion, while the Earned Allowances for all the unions in the universities will drop from N40 billion to N35 billion, that is the second basket offered them, either of the two. Either you choose N25 billion revitalisation plus N40 billion Earned Allowances or revitalisation of N30 billion and N35 billion Earned Allowances.”

 

 

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HND holders to undergo one-year mandatory training – FG

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BSC/HND Dichotomy

HND holders to undergo one-year mandatory training – FG

The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, has asked workers with Higher National Diploma (HND) to undergo one-year mandatory training before their conversion from executive to officers cadre.

According to a statement on Saturday, Yemi-Esan said this at a virtual interactive session with civil servants in commemoration of the 2024 Civil Service Week with the theme, “Educate an African Fit for the 21st Century: Building Resilient Education Systems for Increased Access to Inclusive, Life-long, Quality and Relevant Learning in Africa.”

The one-year mandatory training programme to bridge the gap between polytechnic awarded Higher National Diplomas and university degrees has been controversial between the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).

A bill was passed at the Ninth National Assembly in 2021 to end the dichotomy but was not signed into law by the last administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Thus, NBTE, which regulates technical and vocational education, had to introduce what it describes as a one-year top-up programme which offers a platform for HND holders to level up towards obtaining a bachelor’s degree.

While fielding a question from one of the civil servants during the virtual meeting, Yemi-Esan, said, “The curriculum for HND and B.Sc holders were not the same, hence, HND graduates would have to undergo mandatory one-year training before conversion from Executive to Officers’ cadre.”

Adebayo Hassan in Grade Level 14 had earlier asked about the dichotomy between B.Sc and HND holders in the Service and what the Federal Government was doing to bridge the gap.

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Speaking on the 2024 Civil Service Week theme, Yemi-Esan emphasised the need for education to be accessible, inclusive and of high quality, while highlighting the need for it to constantly remain relevant to the rapidly evolving demands of the modern world.

According to her, “The theme also speaks to how the Nigerian Civil Service is leveraging learning and development to enhance the capacity and capability of its workforce with a view to delivering on national priorities.”

The Head of the Civil Service disclosed that the rapidly changing work environment as well as demands for greater efficiency have necessitated the adoption of a Performance Management System by the Nigerian Civil Service, adding that PMS Policy and Guidelines have been developed and circulated to all Ministries, extra-ministerial Departments and Agencies.

She pointed out that core teams for its implementation have been duly constituted.

According to her, “PMS implementation has been cascaded to the Ministries, with the Permanent Secretaries serving as the primary drivers.

“In this regard, performance contracts are to be further cascaded down to the last officer in each MDA.

“This new system will assess each officer’s performance solely based on their respective Key Performance Indicators and it will enable tracking of job objectives across all MDAs.

“By implication, each officer across the Service can clearly link his goals and objectives with those of his department, those of the respective Ministry and the national KPIs.

She described the digitalisation of work processes in the Service as another reference point in the ongoing transformation of the Federal Civil Service.

She further stressed that the Office has fully digitalised all personal and policy files and is implementing digital transaction workflow processes, as all official correspondences, in the form of memos and internal and external circulars, are now being processed electronically through the Enterprise Content Management solution.

HND holders to undergo one-year mandatory training – FG

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Tinubu orders sanctions against civil servants collecting salaries after relocating abroad

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President Bola Tinubu

Tinubu orders sanctions against civil servants collecting salaries after relocating abroad

President Bola Tinubu has directed that all civil servants drawing salaries from the government after relocating abroad should be made to refund the money.

The President also directed that the supervisors and department heads of the culprits must also be punished for aiding and abetting the fraud under their watch.

Tinubu’ gave the directive on Saturday at the award night organised by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to commemorate the 2024 Civil Service Week.

The event was also to honour some outstanding civil servants in core ministries.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, the President expressed dismay over the attitude of the ghost workers.

“During my recent visit to South Africa, I kept abreast of the week’s activities.

“I was particularly struck by the revelations the Head of the Civil Service shared regarding employees who had relocated abroad while drawing salaries without formally resigning.

“It is heartening to hear that measures have been taken to address this issue, but we must ensure those responsible are held accountable and restitution is made.

“The culprits must be made to refund the money they have fraudulently collected.

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“Their supervisors and department heads must also be punished for aiding and abetting the fraud under their watch,” Tinubu said.

He reiterated that the government would take appropriate measures to ensure they were punished and the money refunded to the government treasury.

The President acknowledged the challenges in the civil service sector and reiterated his commitment to address them for optimal performance.

“Our administration acknowledges the challenges the civil service is facing.

“I want to assure you that we are committed to ensuring the welfare and development of all civil servants to deliver optimal performance for the growth of our nation.

“Over the past year, I have provided all the necessary support to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to ensure the continued stability of the civil service.

“I also supported the office in implementing far-reaching policies and reforms capable of improving efficiency and service delivery, ” the president said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports other activities to mark the night were the presentation of the top three prizes to the winners and additional N500,000 cash prizes to 40 workers.

Making the presentation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, the HOCSF announced the top three prizes won by three lucky officers at the event.

“The Star Prize is a Brand New 2023 JAC JS4 Luxury Model SUV; the second is a 2 Bedroom semi-detached bungalow; and
the third top prize is a serviced plot of land measuring 400 sqm.

“I am also pleased to announce that the Nigeria Customs Service has graciously committed to donating six Toyota Camry Cars in support of the 2024 Civil Service Week.

“The office has started receiving the vehicles, and these will be presented as prizes to the next set of runner-up best-performing officers,” she said.

Tinubu orders sanctions against civil servants collecting salaries after relocating abroad

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200 subscribers battle Ogun govt over housing scheme allocation two years after payment

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Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun

200 subscribers battle Ogun govt over housing scheme allocation two years after payment

Over 200 applicants are at loggerheads with the Ogun State Government over delays in allocating houses to them more than two years after they made payment into the government’s coffers.

Governor Dapo Abiodun hinted that he inherited over 500,000 housing deficits upon assuming office on May 29, 2019. He admitted the daunting challenge, but vowed to close the gap by at least 50 per cent before the expiration of his administration; possibly after eight years.

“We met on the ground a very wide gap of housing deficit in the state, and by our postulation, we have nothing less than 500,000 housing gap in Ogun State.

“And we know that four years, eight years down the line, we may not be able to fill that gap, but we should be sure that at the end of the day we achieve nothing less than 50 per cent of that gap. It looks as if it’s a tall order, but with the market in place, we believe that we can achieve that, not forgetting the fact that Ogun State today is the industrial hub of the nation,” the Commissioner for Housing, Jagunmolu Omoniyi, had told newsmen in September, 2020.

To bridge the gap, the government embarked on a series of housing projects in Abeokuta, Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode, Ilaro, among other towns.

In July, 2021, Gov Abiodun inaugurated a 130-housing unit in Kemta, Idi Aba in Abeokuta. The project, christened Prince Court Estate, is the first phase of the 300 detached and semi-detached two and three-bedroom structures.

There, Abiodun said although shelter was one of the basic needs of human beings, it had continued to be one of the most expensive assets to be owned by individuals, adding that his government would harness all resources to provide affordable shelter for the people of Ogun.

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He said, “This is part of our deliberate approach to ensure that Abeokuta, the capital city of Ogun State, has befitting infrastructure and amenities that will make it stand out as a capital city, not only in Nigeria, but throughout Africa. We are doing this in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Future Cities Project.”

He added that Gateway Mortgage Bank had been directed to provide the much-needed mortgage for subscribers of the housing units.

However, it was gathered that the housing scheme appears to be battling integrity as about 200 subscribers have not been handed their property more than two years after payment of 5,500,000 each.

The applicants, represented by Adeyemi Aremu, cried out over the delay and accused Governor Abiodun’s administration of failing to deliver on its promise.

Aremu, while explaining that the housing scheme was managed by the Ogun State Ministry of Housing, presented receipts to support his claim, revealing that over 200 qualified applicants had been approved and listed, but without allocation.

Aremu lamented that Gateway Mortgage Bank had not protected its clients or ensured they received their homes, even as many continued to pay mortgage instalments with interest.

He said, “The Gateway Mortgage Bank should have secured our homes upon making an agreement.”

Reacting, the housing commissioner confirmed the non-allocation of the houses to the applicants, saying the market value of the property had gone up as high as N20m as against the N5.5m paid by them.

He noted that the government immediately activated a stakeholders’ meeting to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

He said, “The truth of the matter is that the delay in the process of allocation to applicants was caused by the sudden need for variations in the cost of the property as a result of galloping inflation as witnessed in the last year; as the cost value of the houses have gone up as against the N5.5m initially paid by the applicants, with such houses commanding up to N20m in the open market.

“Consequently, the government plans to engage all the applicants through various stakeholders’ meetings, as there will be an adjustment in the price of the property.

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“To this end, those who are willing and able to meet up with the little adjustment will immediately get their allocations attended to and delivery structured within record time at the conclusion of the stakeholders’ meetings, while those who cannot afford the adjustment will be free to request for instant refund of their deposits, plus CBN’s prescribed interest rate.”

Meanwhile, the applicants rejected the two options from the government, insisting they must be given their due allocations.

One of the applicants, Adeboye Kilani, explained that some applicants got their allocation in the first and second phases, saying those affected belonged to the third phase.

While speaking during an interactive programme on Splash FM 106.7, Abeokuta, Kilani described the government’s position as a breach of contract which could not stand.

He said, “Some of us are retirees and we paid with our pension. Where do they expect us to see money to pay up to N20m? The governor has to do something on this because this is a breach of agreement. We have all paid fully.

“Will the government also demand an additional payment from those who have gotten their property and occupied them?”

Responding to a question on whether he thought the amount paid that time was enough to complete the property in question, Kilani responded, “They called it a carcass. The structure will not be completed. There will be structure and roofing on it and inside it, nothing will be done, no plastering. We will be the ones that’ll complete the buildings before moving in.”

Aremu also rubbished the government’s justification for the price hike of over 300 per cent, insisting that the delay in allocation was not their fault, saying, “We vehemently reject the refund or increment.”

He asked the government to acknowledge that the delay in prompt allocation after payment caused the so-called price variation and to take responsibility for defaulting.

He outlined the history of the transaction: applicants purchased forms for 5,000 and paid 5.5m for each house, with retired civil servants paying a discounted rate of 4.95m.

He explained that, “These payments were made in 2020 and 2021. Despite this, no allocations have been made to over 200 qualified applicants whose names were approved and published.

“What excuse can there be three years after we fulfilled our part of the bargain by duly paying? Are we responsible for the delay?”

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He warned that any price increase from the 5.5m to 20m or refund would amount to fraud and erode public trust in the state government.

Another subscriber, Olusola Akinlotan, said that the government should bear the brunt rather than “playing the fast one on the applicants.”

Akinlotan said the government, through its officials, met with the applicants three times and that the only reason given for the delay was the planned commissioning by the then Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.

On his part, Matthew Dada, another applicant, questioned the government’s silence on the non-allocation.

He said, “If they really mean good for the people who have already paid, why is it now that the commissioner is just talking, and this is after one Mr Aremu raised alarm over the issue last week.

“Everyone has been in pain of what is happening in Ogun State. This is not right at all.

“There is no part of the world where this is happening. They all travel round the world; is this the practice they see in America, England or Germany? Someone is buying a house and has paid fully and yet three years down the line the house has not been given. This is not right!

Meanwhile, the commissioner described the alleged scandal as “an illusion by fifth columnists.”

He added that individuals behind the alleged scandal “are criminals in civil regalia who tried unsuccessfully to manipulate the laudable initiative, especially the ongoing Ogun State GRA Regeneration Scheme, especially that of Ibara, Abeokuta.”

Omoniyi, in a statement, said, “In actual fact, those who are behind this fake news are individuals who had tried unsuccessfully in the past to undermine and manipulate the ongoing Ibara Housing Estate Regeneration Scheme for selfish considerations.

“They, therefore, resorted to propaganda and cheap blackmail to paint the government and its laudable projects black in the eyes of the people, not knowing that the good people of Ogun State are too sophisticated to fall for these machinations.”

200 subscribers battle Ogun govt over housing scheme allocation two years after payment

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