BusinessDay

Delta salary subvention policy having serious adverse consequences on tertiary education – ASUP

...Calls on Okowa to reverse policy

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), South-South and South East Chapter, has decried what it described as obnoxious salary subvention policy by the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa-led administration against the two Delta State-owned Polytechnics and called for the reversal of same.

Briefing newsmen at Ogwashi-uku Polytechnic, on Thursday, the union recalled that the state government had in April this year introduced a salary subvention policy which provides that the managements of Ogwashi-uku and Otefe-Oghara polytechnics contribute not less than 10 percent of the total monthly wage bill of all staff of their employment while the government takes care of the other percentage.

To the undiscerning mind, this policy may appear logical and in line with best practices but the reality is that this policy will, and has already started having serious adverse consequences on tertiary education in the state, said Precious Nwakodo, the zonal coordinator (South-South and South-East) ASUP, Nigeria.

As a responsible union, we are duty bound to raise alarm over the ills that this policy has started to birth while rejecting same and calling on the state government to immediately take a second look at the policy with a view to stopping it’s continued implementation in order to arrest these ills that have already began to manifest in these two Polytechnics.

Acording to Nwaokolo, some of the ills are: Delay in payment of salaries as staff of the institutions now receive salaries two to three weeks into the new month, stressing the economic effects of this on private lives of the workers who he said are indigenes of the state.

This ugly trend has continued to worsen as the months pass by because managements of the two institutions are finding it extremely difficult to raise several millions of naira monthly to augment what the government provides, he added.

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He hinted that if not checked now, the institutions would start owing staff salaries which may lead to the kind of situation that exist in Abia Polytechnic, Aba, where staff are owed up to 36 months arrears of salary.

He listed other consequences of the policy to include staff inadequacy, imminent staff rationalisation, low staff morale, low quality of education and increased cost of education

Away from the salary subvention policy, Nwaokolo said it was evident that the local unions in the state had appealed to the state government for the
reinstatement of seven percent Academic Staff Peculiar Allowance erroneously omitted at the point of computation of the new Minimum Wage in 2019; payment of promotion arrears as part of staff salary which the state government stopped since 2015; domestication of the 2019 Federal Polytechnics Act and improved Contributory Health Insurance Scheme, adding that they were awaiting response to their appeal.

He said that to avert the adore-mentioned attendant ills of the Salary Subvention Policy, it is in the best interest of the state government to immediately stop the obnoxious policy while expressing the belief that Governor Okowa whom he described as a workers friendly governor would respond positively to their call.

The union demanded for the reversal of the policy, saying it is the best thing to do as it is in the best interest of the government and the people of the state especially in this time of electioneering politics in the country.

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