President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the sum of N22.68 billion to clear ex – workers accumulated benefits after fifteen years of struggle.
Also, the president directed that the sum of N20 billion be released immediately to the public universities for revitalization scheme.
Minister of finance, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed who made the disclosure further said President Buhari gave directive on Monday at a meeting with the ex- workers of defunct National Carrier and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ( ASUU)
Ex-workers of the airline has been in a dire and despair condition following accumulated outstanding benefits running for years after the airline was liquidated. The distraught ex- workers staged a protest Tuesday at the entrance gate to the headquarters of ministry of finance, a day after resumption of office of the new Minister.
The minister empathized protesting ex- workers with a promised to take up the issue.
She said: ” Upon my resumption of office as the Minister of finance, some pending fiscal issues in the aviation and education sectors were immediately brought to my attention. As such, I took it as a challenge to quickly address key issues regarding the settlement of existing claims in both of these sectors. Consequently upon this , i’m happy to inform you that Mr. President has graciously approved the sum of N22.68 billion and N20 billion to aviation and education sectors respectively “.
While promising that, the balance of fund of retired Airways workers would be paid as soon as government finances improve , which she pegs at six months from now, she said the initial amount after liquation came to N78 billion.
” This amount was verified by Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA) and other relevant stakeholders in line with the condition of service of Nigeria Airways in liquidation and other extant rules and regulations. At the end of which the sum of N45 billion was agreed as the total retirements benefits of the affected staff”.
On N20 billion approval for public universities, which came in the wake of ASUU’s fresh ultimatum for strike, Zainab said revitalization fund to be released to beneficiary universities was inline with administration’s determination to revitalize public universities to ensure smooth running.
” You may recall that the ASUU signed a Memorandum of Understanding ( MoU) with the federal government of Nigeria sometime in 2013 on the terms and conditions on which the government would improve funding for staff welfare and the provision of critical infrastructure in our public universities. However, the implementation of this bilateral agreement has had certain challenges due to revenue shortages and other reasons “, she said.
Responding, ASUU Vice- President Emmanuel Oshodeke said the agreement entered with government was higher than what government offered.