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Varsity strike: FG insensitive to Nigerians’ yearnings, says ASUU

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Almost 60 days into the nationwide strike by lecturers in public universities, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Lagos Zone has berated the Federal Government for allegedly being insensitive to the yearnings of Nigerian citizens.

The ASUU Zonal Coordinator, Comrade Adelaja Odukoya, said this at a news conference on Tuesday in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Odukoya said none of the issues that necessitated the current impasse in the universities has been resolved by government, just as he called on all Nigerians to rally round the union rather than criticising it for the strike.

Addressing the news conference held at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Odukoya warned that the deliberate misinformation by some government officials was capable of elongating the industrial action.

The Lagos Zone comprises Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye; Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijebu-Ode; University of Lagos; Lagos State University; and FUNAAB.

According to the zonal coordinator, the key issues include the re-negotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, payment platforms in the Universities (IPPIS/UTAS), proliferation of state Universities, non-payment of Earned Academic Allowances, promotion arrears and check-off dues and the release of White Papers of Visitation Panels to Federal Universities.

Odukoya declared that the ongoing strike action would not be suspended until Government addresses the adoption of UTAS, implements the renegotiated agreement, pays all outstanding allowances and fulfils all other issues contained in the Memorandum of Action signed with ASUU.

He said ASUU should not be blamed for the current situation, urging well-meaning citizens to prevail on the Federal Government to do the needful.

He added: “Our Union wants to use this opportunity to call on well-meaning Nigerians to call the Federal Government to question on the lingering industrial face-off.

“The future of this country lies in the hand of our educated youths and government has the responsibilities to live up to the constitutional provision of educating all Nigerians.

“Our country is currently bleeding with the activities of bandits and terrorists simply because of lack of education.

“The political class continues to sow the seeds of insecurity due to the criminal neglect of the education sector.”

The ASUU leader asked the Federal Government to desist from frivolous spendings and be more responsible in handling the affairs of the citizens.

He noted that the unsolicited donation of $1 million by the Nigerian Government to Afghanistan and the N12 billion spent monthly on school feeding programme ought to be channeled to more productive use, especially in the education sector.

Odukoya also accused the Director-General of the National Information Technology and Development Agency, Inuwa Abdullahi, of deliberately misinforming the Federal Government and members of the public on the result of the integrity test conducted on University Transparency and Accountability Solution.

UTAS is a payment platform developed by ASUU to replace the the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, which is one of the issues that necessitated the ongoing strike by university lecturers.

Odukoya said if government allows itself to be misinformed and misdirected through the managerial incompetence of the NITDA officers, the union has a duty to properly inform the public on the true state of things regarding UTAS.

He insisted that the IPPIS was imposed on the universities despite its demonstrated shortcomings.

The zonal coordinator explained that government has run out of reasons and lies not to accept, approve and adopt UTAS, saying the NITDA DG was allegedly playing politics with the process and doing a hatchet job of the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Ali Pantami.

Odukoya said: “Government’s forceful migration of our members unto the platform, even when our union has clearly demonstrated that the system does not accommodate the peculiarities of the university system, should not just worry Nigerians, but should equally raise the curiosity of lovers of Nigerians on the main reasons for imposing IPPIS.

“IPPIS is a bastion of fraud that permits the enrolment of ghost workers and constitutes financial drain on the scarce resource of the Nigerian State.

“IPPIS, as a payment platform, is yet to be subjected to any Integrity Test by the government.

“Our union challenged government to similarly subject IPPIS to Integrity Test as done to UTAS by independent technical teams.

“NITDA was directed to conduct Integrity Test on the UTAS platform before deployment by government.

“However, in a report of the first test sent to the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, on December 3rd, 2021, NITDA indicated that the UTAS platform failed some fundamental test cases, despite a summary score of 97.4 per cent and, therefore, declined issuance of Certificate of Compliance.

“ASUU, however, disagreed with the NITDA report and wondered how 97.4 per cent could have amounted to failure.

“Consequent upon this disagreement, it was agreed at a meeting with the Minister of Labour and Employment that joint re-assessment tests between the technical teams of ASUU and NITDA be conducted and these were done on Tuesday, March 8th, Friday, 18th, 2022.

“Expectedly, the assessment of all the 698 tests conducted was successful with an overall score of 99.3 per cent.

“The few exceptions are five cases requiring modifications.

“However, while the re-assessment tests were ongoing, the DG, NITDA released misleading information to the public from the discredited report of the first test that UTAS failed again, leaving out the result of the jointly conducted second test of 99.3 per cent.

“Our Union then wonders how and where 99.3 per cent test score would be adjudged as fail.

“We are aware that the position of the DG, NITDA, Inuwa Abdullahi, is not consistent with the enthusiasm of the Technical Team from the agency he superintends over and the DG is unduly politicising the entire process to the disadvantage of the country, possibly in the interest of the Minister for Communication and Digital Economy.

“Their dispositions amount to passing a vote of no confidence on the Nigerian intelligentsia and our union would not allow this to fly.

“Good enough, we are convinced that the Technical Team from NITDA are quite abreast of the process and the responsibilities around their certified qualifications.

“ASUU, therefore, wants the Nigerian public to call the DG, NITDA to order on the point of integrity not to play politics and vendetta with the future of Nigeria and that of our public universities as national treasures and collective patrimony of all Nigerian citizens.”

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Apply For Massive Google Recruitment 2022, Careers & Job Vacancies (4 Positions)

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Google Recruitment 2022

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Net foreign exchange inflow into Nigeria drops by 62%

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Net foreign exchange inflow into the Nigerian economy fell by 62 per cent year on year to $950 million in January 2022 from $2.5 billion in the corresponding period of 2021.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) disclosed this in its Economic Report for January 2022.

According to the apex bank, it sold $720 million forex through the Investors and Exporters (I&E) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) windows during the review period.

The CBN noted that forex inflow dropped YoY by 20.3 per cent to $4.36 billion in January 2022 from $5.47 billion in January 2021.

However, forex outflow through the economy rose by 14.8 per cent to $3.41 billion in January 2022 from $2.97 billion in January 2021.

A further look at the numbers showed that YoY forex inflow through the CBN rose by 5.2 per cent to $1.82 billion in January 2022 from $1.73 billion in January 2021.

On the other hand, forex outflow through the bank fell by 8.1 per cent to $2.6 billion in January 2022 from $2.83 billion in January 2021.

CBN said: “The economy recorded lower net foreign exchange inflow in January, driven, mainly, by net flows from the CBN and autonomous sources. Aggregate foreign exchange inflow into the economy declined by 36.7 per cent to $4.36 billion in January 2022, from $6.89 billion in December 2021.

“The total foreign exchange outflow decreased by 5.1 per cent to $3.41 billion from $3.59 billion in the preceding period.

“A net inflow of $0.95 billion was recorded in the month under review, compared with net inflow of $3.29 billion in the preceding period.

“Further analysis shows that foreign exchange inflow into the bank fell by 36.7 per cent to $1.82 billion from $2.88 billion, attributed to 45.4 per cent decline in non-oil components, mainly, TSA and third-party receipts/MDA transfers, other official receipts and swaps.

“Autonomous inflow also decreased by 36.7 per cent to $2.54 billion, from $4.01 billion, due to reduction in invisible purchases.

“Foreign exchange outflow through the bank fell by 18.3 per cent to $2.60 billion from $3.18 billion in December 2021, due, largely, to decrease in public sector/direct payment, 3rd party MDA transfers, sales at the Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) and Investors & Exporters’ (I&E) windows.

“Consequently, a net outflow of $0.78 billion was recorded through the bank in January, from $0.30 billion in the previous month.”

The report also showed that the forex sold to I&E window rose YoY by 163 per cent to $580 million from $220 million in January 2021.

 

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