Strike looms in Nigeria’s institutions of higher learning as the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), on Wednesday, declared that the Federal Government would not pay salaries of staff schools in the nation’s tertiary institutions.

The Executive Chairman of the commission, Chief Richard Egbule, made this known at a news briefing in Abuja.

The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission specifically said government should not be responsible for the payment of their salaries because of its overbearing effect on the budget.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the university workers under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) had threaten to embark on strike for non-funding of staff schools by the Federal Government.

Egbule said the proposed strike action by SSANU was uncalled for as government was not responsible for the funding of staff schools in higher institutions.

He said that some government-owned tertiary institutions had transferred the funding of staff schools established by them to government treasury.

This, he said, had contributed to the bloating of the recurrent cost of Federal Government budget.

Egbule said that the activities of some of the staff schools had resulted in the additional cost to government amounting to N4 billion annually.

He said that in a bid to find out the state of the staff schools, the commission had in 2013 carried out a survey on their operations.

Egbule said that this was done with a view to generating information on the funding and payment of salaries.

He said that the study revealed that 48 of the tertiary institutions did not have staff schools, while 21 funded their staff schools from their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

He said 51 of the institutions, however, funded their staff schools from the federal treasury.

Egbule said that the schools that funded their staff schools from the federal treasury had devised means of including the staff list of such schools as part of the tertiary institutions’ authentic staff.

He said the staff of such schools were wrongly placed on the salary structure meant for the tertiary educational institutions.

Egbule said that the salary structure was higher in quantum than the Consolidated Public Service Salary Structure (CONPSS).

He said that the discovery of the commission had resulted in government taking a policy decision.

He said the decision was that the cost of running all staff schools of government agencies including staff remuneration were to be funded from the higher institutions’ IGR.

The executive chairman said that in a bid to implement the federal government decision, the commission had in 2014, issued a circular directing all relevant institutions to adhere to government policy on funding of staff schools.

He said that the reiteration of the policy was one of the on-going activities of the commission in assisting the government to reduce the growing personnel cost and recurrent expenditure.

He, therefore, called on the staff unions not to distract the new administration with unnecessary demands.

Egbule said the Federal Government had reached an agreement with staff unions of tertiary educational institutions between 2009 and 2010 on funding of staff schools.

“I would like to appeal to staff unions not to distract the new government with unnecessary demands. The government has stopped payment of salaries of members of staff in the primary and secondary schools in these tertiary institutions and the decision is final,” he said. (NAN)

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