Intervention fund: Another strike looms in varsities
Afresh crisis may soon erupt in the nation’s university system over the federal government’s failure to release N7.6bn as intervention fund to public universities across the country, Daily Trust findings have shown.
The government had in 2013 set aside about N1.3trillion as intervention fund to upgrade and develop critical infrastructure in the institutions.
The decision was part of the resolutions reached between the government and the the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASSU) to end the industrial action that lasted for about five months.
But the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations at the Ministry of Education, Mr. Ben Bem Goong, in a reaction, said government was unable to redeem its total pledge because it ran short of money as a result of the dwindling oil prices and revenue. He said government had adequate plans to revamp education but had to manage the impact of dwindling revenue and struggle to finance the 2016 budget.
“How much was a barrel of oil in 2012 when the pledge was made and how much is it now? The agreement was reached when oil was about $100 per barrel, the price has crashed now and there isn’t sufficient money to fund projects,” he said.
However, an industrial action by ASUU is imminent, as stakeholders say the federal government had reneged on the agreement.
Sources told our correspondents that the government is yet to release over N 700 billion covering for 2014, 2015, 2016 and the balance for 2013.
According to the source, since the agreement was reached between the two parties in 2012, only about N100 billion has been given to the institutions.
Government had during the industrial action by ASUU, set up a Committee on Needs Assessments of Nigerian Universities( CNANU), which was chaired by the then Benue State governor, Gabriel Suswam, to come up with a sustainable and workable solution to the incessant strike actions by the universities.