The Federal Government on Tuesday said it does not have the resources to meet demand by striking university lecturers that would cost an extra N92 billion.
The Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at the opening of a two-day meeting of Commissioners of Finance and Accountants-General of states on Tuesday, said the N92 billion being demanded by the university lecturers was not within the reach of the Federal Government.
“At present, ASUU wants government to pay N92 billion in extra allowances when the resources are not there and when we are working to integrate past increases in pensions,’’ she said.
“The country is still suffering from the effect of the 2010 increase in salary. Do we want to get to a stage in this country that all the money we earn is used to pay salaries and allowances?”
Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said if the demands of the lecturers are met, infrastructural development in universities will suffer.
“Since I assumed office, the share of recurrent expenditure in our total budgets had increased astronomically. In fact, recurrent expenditure accounted for about 77.2 per cent of the federal budget and we are now working to re-balance this ratio,” she said.
Meanwhile, no agreement was reached in the latest round of negotiation between the government and ASUU. However, the governor of Benue State who also doubles as Federal government’s chief mediator told reporters after Tuesday’s meeting that significant progress has been made between the parties. The next round of negotiation will continue on Monday.