By Shola Adewunmi
The Federal Government has alleged that the taxes being deducted by bursars and vice chancellors of universities were not reflective of PAYE (Pay As You Earn).
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige who made this known, said the Federal Government had to offset the shortfall of over N800 billion to state governments through Joint Tax Board (JTB) as a result.
He said that the Federal Government is set to invoke labour laws – local and international – on the Academic Staff Union of Universities members to make them reason with the government.
“ASUU lacks the power to dictate to government how to receive its members’ salary,” he added.
Ngige also argued that as employees of the Federal Government, university teachers were bound by labour laws on how to be paid.
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, described the minister’s claims as “pure mischief”.
He said: “We are thoroughly embarrassed that such reckless and baseless allegation could be credited to the Minister of Labour and Employment.
” In the first place, is ASUU responsible for the management of the payroll and personnel information in the universities?
“Secondly, how many of those responsible for the so-called ‘double payments’ has government apprehended, tried and jailed to serve as deterrents?
“In the third place, what did government do in universities where ASUU submitted petitions against vice chancellors we suspected to have involved themselves in corrupt practices?
“Honestly, we in ASUU find it difficult to relate with Senator Chris Ngige as a ‘conciliator’ as he prides himself.”
In a statement on Sunday by his media aide, Emmanuel Nzomiwu, the minister said: “I invited ASUU for a zoom meeting, in compliance with World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) COVID-19 guidelines, but they insisted on meeting me face-to-face. We have labour laws.”