Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has lamented that the Treasury Single Account (TSA) recently adopted by the Federal Government is seriously having a negative impact on the Nigerian universities.
Addressing newsmen on Wednesday at the Lagos State University (LASU), the Zonal Coordinator ASUU Lagos zone, Dr. Adesola Nasir, urged the Federal Government to remove the universities from the TSA as the policy is robbing the universities of the opportunities for short, medium and long term planning in the efforts to deliver on their set objectives.
“In Federal owned universities it has now become the norm for the federal government through its ministry of finance to release less than the amount needed to pay staff salaries on monthly basis.
“We are at a loss on the basis for this affront on the system. The shortfall in personnel cost started around December and has remained so till date,” he added.
The consequence, according to Nasir, is that the Federal universities are now unable to pay staff salaries while some are paying ‘net’ salaries which implies that deductions into staff savings, cooperatives, unions among others are not remitted, which is now running into months.
Speaking further, he said another fundamental challenge with the universities is the frustration being encountered in the funding of research by universities.
He said local research funds have become trapped while funds from international funding agencies are also rendered unavailable by certain bottleneck created by the operations of the policy.
“At Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), funds administered by the university for certain programme spanning five African countries are trapped. Similar developments reign at University of Lagos. At this rate, Nigerian universities and researchers may be blacklisted and this development would also frustrate access to international grants,” he lamented.
However, he said ASUU view these developments with serious disdain and cannot continue to allow the universities to be so repressed by these manners of treatment.
He said the union has vouched to support efforts by the concerned universities towards ensuring that Nigerian universities get a better deal in the interest of the students and the country.
He thereby called on well meaning Nigerians to prevail on government at all levels to do the needful to free the nation’s universities from the shackles of underfunding.
“Our union calls on the Federal Government in particular to free the universities from the TSA policy so as to ensure that our universities run well. If all these appeals fail, ASUU should not be held responsible for the crises that would eventually erupt in our universities,” he said.