Hopes of quick resolution of the present face-off between the Federal
Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities were dashed on
Tuesday as the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the
government has no resources to meet the union demands.
Speaking in Minna at the annual National Council on Finance and Economic Development meeting, the minister said:
“At present ASUU wants the government to pay N92 billion in extra allowances when resources are not there and when we are working to integrate past increases in pensions. We need to make choices in this country as we are getting to the stage
where recurrent expenditures take the bulk of our resources and people
get paid but can do no work.
She declared that if the demands of the university lecturers are met
and “we continue to pay them salaries and allowances we will not be
able to provide infrastructure in the universities.”
The minister argued that when she assumed office “the share of
recurrent expenditure in our total budgets had increased astronomically.
“In fact recurrent expenditures accounted for about 77.2 per cent
of the federal budget and we are now working to re-balance this ratio,”
the minister added.