The leadership of the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) has commended President Bola Tinubu for suspending the policy requiring tertiary institutions in the country to remit 40 percent of the internally generated revenue to the federation account.
The Union, which had said the policy was retrogressive, had called for its immediate cancellation.
In a statement signed by its president, Dr. Smart Olugbeko, the Union said President Tinubu’s action was in the best interest of the country.
It said: “Our great Union receives with immense satisfaction, the decision of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to suspend the backward policy directing tertiary institutions including Colleges of Education to start remitting 40% of a non-existent IGR to the federal treasury.
“While we knew absolutely that the policy would not stand as we were poised to resist it with all legitimate powers we possess as a Trade Union in the sector, we must acknowledge the sense of good reason, listening disposition, democratic ethos, and responsible leadership shown by Mr. President in suspending the policy without allowing the situation to degenerate into an unnecessary faceoff between labour and Government.
“We, therefore, commend Mr. President for his sensitivity and amiability on the matter. With this gesture of Mr. President, it seems to us that our Union has eventually found a Government that is compatible in disposition to our Union towards an alternative dispute resolution approach through constructive engagement, social dialogue, and proactive bargaining characterized by mutual respect and pliability to superior logic.
“Nonetheless, we urge President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to go a step further by deploying this promising disposition to urgently address the challenges of funding in the College of Education system and other tiers of the tertiary education sector altogether.
“We call on Mr. President to always ensure that issues raised by labour are proactively dealt with through social dialogue and collective bargaining. By so doing, we can together ensure industrial tranquility and an uninterrupted academic calendar in our institutions.
“We anticipate that Mr. President would apply these laudable virtues towards addressing other festering issues plaguing the College of Education system and prone to industrial crisis. For example, the centralization of payroll administration through the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) undermines the statutory functions of the Governing Councils, and breaches the establishment integrity of the tertiary education sector in general and the College of Education system in particular.
“It opens the payroll up to unilateral manipulations and all manners of fraud beyond the control of the Management of our institutions. It has eroded the power and authority of Provosts and Governing Councils to employ as the office of the Head of Service determines who and when to employ.
“IPPIS contravenes global best practices in the management of tertiary institutions and disrespects the peculiarities of the COE system. IPPIS has continued to defraud us as we have thousands of cases of short-payment, outright non-payment, unlawful delay, and/or withholding of third-party deductions, just to mention but a few. We urge President Ahmed Bola Tinubu to revisit the issue of IPPIS in the interest of justice and industrial harmony.
“Other issues Mr. President needs to address include the unlawful sack of Governing Councils in violation of their statutory tenure of three years and contravention of the FCE Establishment Act.
“Of equal concern to our Union is the need to conclude the long overdue renegotiation of COEASU-FG 2010 agreement; upward review of the monthly running grant being given to the Managements of Colleges of Education and timely release of the fund; resolution of the issue of outsourced services particularly security and cleaning; and the implementation, without further delay, of the special bursary and grant to education students in Universities and Colleges of Education,” the Union stated.