Chairman of the University of Calabar Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Dr Tony Eyang, Thursday said that implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) in universities in the country was stifling the running of the institutions.
Eyang while explaining reasons for joining the nationwide one-week warning strike said the TSA was not compatible with university administration system.
His words, “By the peculiar nature of universities it is difficult for them to operate without hitches based on the TSA. The TSA has made it very difficult for funds to be assessed. It has made it very difficult for academic programmes to be conducted. So that is the problem. As a union we are not opposed to the introduction and operation of the TSA, but its application to the university system is stifling the smooth running of the universities. That is where our problem is.”
He said the country is confronted by a looming collapse of one of the foundational pillars of a nation’s development – the educational system – which has remained largely neglected and malnourished.
Also a statement signed by Eyang and the Secretary of the Union, Dr Jonas Akung, made available to newsmen reads in part , “It is with deep pains that we address you on the agonizing state of our nation as it concerns the educational sector, particularly the University system.
“As intellectuals, we remain avowed to our responsibility to society, part of which is the intervention role to ensure that the ship of state does not sink.
“It is indeed regrettable, that in this knowledge-driven 21st century, the ruling elite of our country continue to act in a way that suggests they do not understand the role of education in mediating development. How else could it be interpreted the deliberate reduction of budgetary allocation to education and the total disregard of the commitment of government to the Nigerian people through the FGN/ASUU Agreement of 2009? How else could it explained government’s nonchalant attitude to the calls by ASUU and well-meaning Nigerians to give our country a life line by funding education.
“Beloved Compatriots, we had addressed the press on several occasions on the pending issues between ASUU and FGN, the last of which engagement here was on August 31, 2016. We had warned of a dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over the University system due to government’s refusal to implement the 2009 Agreement and the MoU of 2013. It is this refusal and total disregard of the numerous letters and entreaties that precipitated the declaration of a national one-week warning strike, from Wednesday November 16 to Tuesday November 22, 2016.
“Today, ASUU UNICAL Branch, along with other branches of our Union across the country, is on a comprehensive and total strike which could have been avoided if government had done the needful.
“The strike is to compel government to Stop the agonizing payment of fractions of salaries of academic staff (a new form of slavery that began in December 2015); pay arrears of entitlements of staff (Earned Academic Allowances); Release the funds for University revitalization; Release the licence certificate for NUPEMCO registration; Remove the University system from Treasury Single Account (TSA); and Commence the renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement.
“It will be regrettable if the government does not quickly address the issues to avoid a degeneration of the situation. We will never surrender nor abdicate our responsibility to the future of our beloved country.”