By JOHN ONAH, Abuja –
The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) has kicked against the 25% deduction from the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the National Examinations Council (NECO) by the Federal Government.
The union, in a letter to the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, called for an immediate stoppage of the deductions, adding that it may resort to industrial action to press home its demands.
NASU, in the letter signed by NECO branch Secretary, Comrade Reuben Emdin and made available to journalists, lamented that the deduction has taken a major toll on the finances of the examination body as well as staff welfare.
While saying the exam body is not a revenue generating agency, the union appealed to the minister to prevail on President Muhammadu Buhari to approve the immediate stoppage of the 25 per cent deduction and ensure refunds to clear outstanding entitlement and allowances owed NECO staff.
The letter dated 23 March, 2022 read in parts: “As critical stakeholders in the National Examinations Council (NECO), we are compelled to notify you formally of a 25percent deduction currently enforced by the Federal Government on the Treasury Single Account (TSA) of the Council since the year 2021.
“Honourable Minister, we are not unmindful of the fact that this issue has already been brought before you by the Council and your effort towards a resolution which led to a presidential intervention on behalf of the Council that allowed for the release of the Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (Internal) 2021.
“Our position however is that the National Examinations Council (NECO) would not require any kind of intervention from the Federal Government if the 25 percent deduction was not carried out in the first place.
“More so that this policy is clearly crippling the activities of the Council and its ability to carry out its mandate. As a Union, we are concerned about the survival of our institution and the welfare of our members, clearly this policy has become a threat to both.
“As such, we can no longer sit and remain silent in the face of an apparent danger to our source of livelihood. The fact that today we have a series of unpaid promotion arrears dating back to 2017, unpaid salaries as a result of migration to IPPIS between the months of March to August 2015, unpaid transfer allowances for a number of years, all of which the Council has not been able to pay, we see no reason why this policy should continue.
“In addition, you may wish to recall that the President and Commander in Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) recently approved the upward review of the Duty Tour Allowance (DTA) for all Civil Servants of the Federation effective 1 February, 2022.
“NECO is presently not in compliance with this circular as a result of the paucity of funds occasioned by this 25% being deducted from its TSA account.
“Honourable Minister, the National Examinations Council (NECO)
is not a revenue generating agency and pursuant to the act creating the body, it is to function among other things as a social service provider to the public.
“It is therefore disheartening that this agency of Government who just a few years ago reduced its fees to act as a cushion for the populace in all its examinations to the glory of this present administration is today been run aground by the same administration.
“The Union resolve as follows:
- That the Honorable Minister as a matter of urgency prevail on the President Commander in Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) to approve the immediate stoppage of the 25 percent deduction from NECO and all other examination bodies in the country.
“2. This Union demands that the Honorable Minister sees to the refund and payment of all outstanding entitlement and allowances owed to staff of the National Examinations Council (NECO). This is something the Union has fought relentlessly over in the past couple of years and wants to be brought to an end.
“3. That failure to bring this 25% deduction and payment of the above stated outstanding entitlements and allowances owed staff would leave this Union with no choice but to take its destiny in its own hands, by commencing the processes of declaring an industrial action in the Council.
“4. The Honorable Minister is invited to note that this letter is written in the overall interest of the welfare of our members and sustaining industrial harmony within the National Examinations Council (NECO).”