By Mohammed Mohammed
The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila on Monday said, the appropriation of N200 billion in the 2023 budget will put to rest the associated crisis that has rocked the nation’s University system.
In a statement signed by the Speaker, he said: We are currently
working on the 2023 Appropriations Bill, which includes the sum of one hundred and seventy billion naira (N170,000,000,000.00) to provide a level of increment in the welfare package of University lecturers.”
The Bill, he added includes additional three hundred billion naira (N300,000,000,000.00) in revitalisation funds to improve the
infrastructure and operations of federal universities.
“When ASUU called off
their industrial action three weeks ago, it meant that academic
activities could resume in our nation’s public universities, and
students could return to their academic pursuits after the prolonged interruption. This decision was rightly heralded nationwide as the correct decision.
“Since then, the Executive and the House of Representatives have
worked to address the issues that led to the strike.” He said.
According to him, the House has convened the
Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), ASUU and other stakeholders to facilitate the adoption of elements of the University transparency and
Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
He reiterated that this effort is being supervised by the Chairman of the House Committee on Tertiary Education, Mr. Aminu Suleiman.
He said: “The Executive position that it is not obligated to pay salaries to
lecturers for the time spent on strike is premised on the law and the government’s legitimate interest in preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.
“Nonetheless, interventions have been made to explore the possibility of partial payments to the lecturers. We look forward to a favourable consideration by President Buhari, who has manifested his desire to what is prudent and
necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.
“Implementing meaningful change takes time, especially when
appropriations and modifications to systems such as IPPIS are required.
“I urge all parties to be patient and grant each other the presumption of goodwill to the extent necessary to achieve our shared objectives.”
While dismissing the time as political brinkmanship, he stressed that there is no more pressing objective than to preclude the possibility of further disruptions to the academic
calendar of the universities.
“We must prevent this possibility by all
means, as these disruptions risk the promise and potential of our
nation’s youth.” He said.
He recalled that 3 weeks ago, he called for a national conversation on the substantive reforms required to address the underlying issues
bedevilling public tertiary education in Nigeria, adding that the House will soon convene another national summit on tertiary education regorm.
Signed: REP. FEMI GBAJABIAMILA
Speaker, House of Representatives