The Federal Government on Wednesday said while it has met eight out of the seven demands of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities, it could not meet the union’s demand for earned allowance running into N284bn, especially with the economy in recession.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said this while answering questions from State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Ngige said there was no way the government could pay the allowance because there was no money.
The minister said the government had conceded to the union the right to exclude endowment funds that accrued to universities from the Treasury Single Account.
He said while the government agreed to ASUU’s demand to exclude endowment funds from the TSA, that does not mean that university councils will not have right to audit such an account.
He added, “The other aspect of it is the earned allowance. The earned allowance is the only one that is not sorted out now because everybody knows and agrees that we are in recession.
“If we are in a recession and you are asking us to pay you N284bn, nobody will pay it because the money is not there.