FUOYE V.C PARLEYS WITH STAFF.

The Vice Chancellor, Federal University Oye- Ekiti, Professor Isaac Uzoma Asuzu, recently held an interactive session with all categories of staff of the institution. The university auditorium, venue of the meeting, was filled to capacity with staff eager to have first hand information on some burning issues that bordered on staff welfare.

Declaring the forum open, Professor Asuzu assured staff that the session was an open one in which all had the right to air their views on all issues concerning them and the entire university system. He urged the staff to be free to contribute as no one was going to be victimized. However, he warned that such contributions should be done with decorum. He said the essence of the interactive session was to fine tune ways that would result into harmonious relationships, better working conditions and above all, higher productivity.

The university don further said his philosophy in life and indeed as the Vice Chancellor of the university was to always get things done, and appropriately too. In this regard, he had not promoted any staff since he took over the helm of affairs in FUOYE (February 2013), except for one contract staff. He however disclosed, to the delight of all, that modalities had been set in motion for the promotion of all deserving staff.

The Vice Chancellor informed the audience of his receipt of a letter from the Governor of Ekiti State, which prompted a visit to the governor alongside some of his principal officers, bordering on the issues of tax. The Vice Chancellor disclosed that the governor insisted that staff should pay to the state government all tax on pay as you earn (PAYE) Act of 2011. Though he pledged further negotiations on the tax policy, a directive has however been given to the Acting Bursar to make the deductions in question from staff salaries, but to keep such in a separate account pending the final negotiation with the Ekiti State Government.

The new tax policy then set the pace for questions from the audience. A question was raised on why staffs do not receive pay slips from the bursary. Responding, the Vice Chancellor said the university was working on procuring software for that purpose. However, the Bureau of Public Enterprises had, according to him, cautioned FUOYE against that in view of the decision by the federal government for federal workers to key into the IPPIS which would take the responsibility of issuing payslips.

A question on the non-payment of hazard allowance was raised. The Acting Bursar, Mr. Obadiah Dyiltu, explained that hazard allowance was not part of federal government’s payment package for its staff, and that it was under the jurisdiction of the institution concerned depending on the strength of the institution’s Internally Generate Revenue (IGR).

On the duration of staff annual leave of thirty calendar days instead of the working days, the Acting Registrar, Daniel Adeyemo, said the number of days granted staff was in line with the current public service rules and guidelines.

Questions were also raised on earned allowance, pension deductions and National Housing Fund (NHF) deductions. Professor Asuzu informed staff that, in the interest of transparency, he set up a committee to look into the modalities for the payment of earned allowances. He called on the chairman of the committee, Professor Rasaki Bakare, to explain what templates his committee used, but he was not in the meeting.

The issue of salary disparity between FUOYE and the other newly established federal universities took the centre stage. The general observation was that FUOYE staff salary was lower than that of their counterparts in the universities. Federal University Lokoja and Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo were specifically mentioned. The Acting Bursar once again explained that staff salary was calculated in line with the template issued by the Salaries and Wages Commission, and pledge to send electronic copies of the template to each member of staff. He also invited staff who wished to discontinue some deductions from their salary, such as the National Housing Fund (NHF) to formally write the bursary.

As a way out of this matter, Professor Asuzu, there and then, set up a committee on open nomination by members of staff. This committee, headed by Professor A. A. Aganga, was to look into the issue of salary disparity and report to the management in two weeks. Two persons each were appointed to represent the four different salary structures thus – CONTISS, CONUASS, CONUESS and CONMEDS. The six-man committee included Mr. Sunday Akinkunmi and Professor Adewole Atere. Others were Mr. Imoke, Dr Ikenna Odoh and Habib Ramatu.

The forum ended with votes of thanks from Professor Aganga and the University Librarian, Mr Michael Afolabi. Professor Asuzu rounded off by reassuring the audience of his administration’s readiness to make working conditions good for every staff. He challenged all and sundry to keep to their respective responsibilities while their rewards were guaranteed.

 

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