Federal Government, on Tuesday, said it had no cash now to pay teachers the outstanding N1.44 billion allowance owed them for the 2011 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) training programme.
The non-payment of the outstanding allowance had been a subject of controversy between the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) with the former threatening to boycott the 2012 training programme.
The Minister of State for Education, Mr Nyesom Wike, who waded into the imbroglio, revealed on Tuesday that the Federal Ministry of Finance had said it had no money to pay the allowance for now.
Wike spoke in Abuja at a meeting at his instance as part of efforts to resolve the standoff, assuring teachers that he would personally supervise this year’s training programme in order to forestall the recurrence of what happened last year.
NTI had last year trained 125, 000 teachers under the 2011 Federal Government MDGs Teachers’ Training Programme and disbursed N2,500 to each teacher instead of N14,000 .
National President of NUT, Mr Michael Alogba Olukoya, had accused NTI of shortchanging the teachers of N11,500.
The minister further said that he had personally written to the Ministry of Finance over the balance of the allowance, adding that the reply he got indicated that government had no funds now to pay the outstanding balance.
He noted that the funds were not being withheld by NTI as the teachers had alleged but advised NTI not to repeat the mistake of getting involved in such a programme without adequate cash-backing.