The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu,Tuesday told the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the federal government was renegotiating the 2009 agreement that it had with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The reason for renegotiating the agreement with ASUU, the minister said, was because there were some areas that are not acceptable to the federal government.
He also described as doubtful, the 23.9 per cent rate of unemployment in the country released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
Speaking with journalists after briefing the PDP NWC members, the minister said: “ We have made an offer to ASUU. The demands by ASUU are as complex as presented by both the federal government and ASUU.
“Negotiations are ongoing and we hope that we would be able to sort the differences as soon as possible. The National Assembly is equally involved in the negotiation. We believe that ASUU will call off the strike. I have been appealing ASUU passionately and personally. If ASUU calls off the strike, the better as it will not affect the negotiation. The students too have appealed to ASUU.”
He called on ASUU to consider the interest of the education pursuit of the students and parents.
The nine-point agreements ASUU signed with the federal government 2009 includes funding requirements for revitalisation of the Nigerian universities; federal government assistance to state universities; establishment of NUPEMCO and progressive increase in the annual budgetary allocation to education to 26 per cent between 2009 and 2020
Others are: earned allowances; amendment of the pension/retirement age of academics on the professorial cadre from 65 to 70 years; reinstatement of prematurely dissolved governing councils; transfer of federal government landed property to universities; and setting up of research development council and provision of research equipment to laboratories and classrooms in our universities
Also, the minister said it would be wrong to judge the rate of unemployment in the country based on the statistic released by the NBS.
The NBS said there was about 23.99 per cent level of unemployment in Nigeria, but the minister said it may not be true because of the impact of SURE-P in generating employment in the country.