ASUU tells members to brace for long strike

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ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi

…As Inflation rate set to trend toward 13% in 2019***

The President of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, has urged the striking academic staff of the Nigerian public universities to be prepared for a long strike as the Federal Government is yet to show any seriousness in saving public schools from collapsing.

He reiterated to ASUU members “to be on the watch and prepare for a long drawn out struggle to salvage the University System”.

Ogunyemi stated this in a Strike Bulletin No 5 sent to all members of the union and a copy of which was obtained by our correspondent.

ASUU had embarked on nationwide strike over unfulfilled past agreements by government and under-funding of education.

Ogunyemi charged members to remain steadfast “and resolute in the face of intimidation or antics employed by government through Vice chancellors and Governing councils to undermine the ongoing struggle”.

According to ASUU President, “Government is yet to change its “keep them talking” style and stance as all the meetings held so far with the Minister of Education are yet to resolve any of the demands of ASUU”.

While speaking after their Zonal Meeting held at Ladoke Akintola University, ASUU chairman, University of Ibadan, Dr Deji Omole said Ibadan zone of ASUU had been fully mobilised with her members to ensure the reason for the strike got actualised.

Omole noted that it was regrettable the federal government that had not put anything on the table to revitalise the comatose education sector was busy mobilizing funds and resources for re-election in 2019.

He, however, appealed to parents not to mortgage the future of their children by following politicians instead of fighting for proper and adequate funding of public education.

In the meantime, FSDH Merchant Bank has projected inflation rate of 13 percent for 2019 fiscal year citing implementation of the new minimum wage, upward review of electricity tariff and likely removal of fuel subsidy as factors that will drive up prices next year.

This company’s projection however is in contrast to the 11.4 percent projected by the Central Bank of Nigeria of Nigeria (CBN) for 2019.

While delivering the keynote address at the annual Bankers Dinner of the Chartered Institute of Nigeria (CIBN), CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said: “Inflation expectations are rising on the backdrop of anticipated politically-related liquidity injections. For the rest of 2018 and towards mid-2019 Nigeria’s rate of inflation is projected to rise slightly to about 11.4 percent and then moderate thereafter.”

Commenting on this projection at the media presentation of the December edition of the company’s monthly economic and financial markets outlook, titled “Will Crude Oil Market Receive the Required Stimulus?”, Head of Research, FSDH Merchant Bank, Mr. Ayo Akinwunmi said: “11.4 percent is not what our projection is for next year.  From June next year we expect 13 percent inflation.”

Speaking further, Akinwunmi explained: “The implementation of the minimum wage will add a lot of money to the money that the federal government and state government will spend. This will increase the budget of the FG. It will increase the operating expenses of the FG next year. “Our projection is that the electricity tariff has no other direction to go than to go upward next year. This is because the parameters that they used to do the current tariff, namely inflation rate, exchange rate and gas price, have changed. Operators are not operating at a profit. The tariff does not reflect the cost. FG keeps on pumping money there but they will not have money to pump in next year.

So they will adjust the tariff to reflect cost and then to add little bit of profit margin. That is inflationary on its own. “There is no way FG will sustain fuel subsidy next year. There is an ultimatum now, which fuel marketers issued on Sunday, they gave seven days ultimatum for payment of N800 billion debts. Where is government going to get that?  They also said that the FG will also pay them for exchange rate differentials.

And this time is very timely because this festive period and election period. So these three things will raise prices next year.” Furthermore, Akinwunmi said FSDH is projecting a moderate rise in November inflation rate to  11.28 due to impact of year year end sales.

He said: “ The inflation rate dropped to 11.26 percent  in October, following two consecutive months of increase. A deceleration in food prices drove down the inflation rate in October. FSDH Research forecasts that the inflation rate for November 2018 will inch up to 11.28 percent as a result of the impacts of end of year purchases.

The Citizen with additional report from Vanguard