President Muhammed Buhari has approved the immediate release of N42.68 billion as retirement benefits for ex-workers of Nigeria Airways and the education sector.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Hajia Zainab Ahmed during a meeting with the retirees in Abuja on Monday, 24th September 2018.

According to her, N22.68 billion is for the settlement of the retirement benefits of former workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL) while the other N20 billion is for the revitalisation of Public Universities in line with the demands of the Academic Staff Union of the University (ASUU).

She also noted that the move came after an initial submission by the former workers which totalled with their benefits as N78 billion adding the workers have not been paid their retirement benefits for the past 15 years despite the liquidation which inflicted on them.

Zainab said; ‘The amount was verified by the Presidential Initiative on continuous Audit (PICA) and other relevant stakeholders in line with the conditions of service of Nigeria Airways and other extant rules and regulations.

“At the end of the verification, the sum N45billion was agreed as the total retirement benefits of the affected staff.”

“This is an unfortunate situation, cannot be allowed to continue under a responsible administration.

“It is on this basis that President Buhari approved the immediate release of N22. 68 billion being 50 per cent of N45.3 billion total entitlements for the ex-workers of Nigeria Airways Limited in Liquidation.” She added.

Reacting to the fund released for the revitalization of public universities, Haija Ahmed noted that the ASUU signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Government in 2013 to improve funding for staff welfare and the provision of critical infrastructure in public universities but some challenges have dogged the implementation of the bilateral agreement due to revenue shortages and other reasons.

She said; “to revitalise public universities and ensure the smooth running of the tertiary education in the country, it was decided that N20 billion be immediately released to public universities through the revitalization scheme.

“These funds will be released to the beneficiary universities in line with the established criteria used by the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC).

“The government will monitor the progress of the implementation with a view to resolving emerging issues and keeping the promises to the relevant stakeholders.

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