The Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria has rejected the inclusion of public Universities in the Treasury Single Account system and taken a position on the proposed 2016 Budget, saying that the eight percent allocation to education sector only favours Federal Government Colleges.
The Union made its position known in Abuja while addressing a number of national issues which include, removal of Vice Chancellors of 12 new Federal Universities and their Governing Councils, funding of Tertiary Education Sub Sector, Treasury Single Account and University Autonomy and the general state of the nation.
Specifically, ASUU called on the Federal government to exempt Universities from the implementation of TSA saying that the system is incompatible with the autonomy of the Universities.
The Union through its President, Comrade Nasir Fagge said the accounting system creates bottlenecks, undermines university autonomy and makes it difficult for Universities to fund on- going research and to also sustain international networks.
“With the operation of TSA, Federal Universities find it extremely difficult to discharge their core responsibilities of teaching, research and community services as well as engaging in international academic networking due to inadequate access to budgeted funds”
“ASUU rejects, in its entirety, the practice of causing shortfalls in personnel costs and will be compelled to take appropriate steps against it if this is not checked on time” he stated.
On the Proposed 2016 Budget the Union says it opposes the borrowing option of funding the proposed 2016 budget and requested that the 2.2 trillion naira recovered from the Treasury Single Account should be engaged to finance the budget.
ASUU lamented that the 2016 proposed budget allocation to the education sector goes contrary to its 2009 agreement with the federal government which was to increase the budgetary allocation of education sector to 26 percent as recommended by UNESCO.
It lamented that the proposed 2016 budget only favours federal government colleges leaving State Universities with no allocation for research.
On the Funding of State Universities, the Union said there is an urgent need to build more physical infrastructure to accommodate the increasing number of staff and students.
“the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement, in addition to providing for assistance to State Universities by the Federal Government, also provided for the quantum of funds to be injected by owner governments into the State Universities”
Removal of VC
Speaking on the removal and the appointment of the 13 Vice Chancellors, ASUU called on the Federal government to follow due process by giving priority to Universities Miscellaneous laws of 2003 and re-constituting Governing Councils of the 12 new federal University, while also mandating the council to appoint the new Vice Chancellors for the affected varsities.
According to Fagge, “in the first place, Vice Chancellors were arbitrarily appointed into these institutions and Governing Council instituted without making their enabling law public; We are worried that the same circle of illegality is playing out again”
“in a university where there is the law only the Governing Council is empowered to remove a Vice Chancellor from office “for a good cause” and only a Council has the power to appoint a Vice Chancellor in accordance with the law”
The Universities Miscellaneous Provision law provides for a 5 year tenure, non renewable for a Vice Chancellor in the Nigerian University system.
“This act particularly applies to all federally funded universities in Nigeria, inclusive of the National Open University Of Nigeria” ASUU stated
On the issue of increased electricity tarrif, ASUU says it fully supports the massive resistance by the Labour Movement and other Nigerians against the moves by the National Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Distribution Companies.