The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has decried high taxation of its members and non-payment of their entitlements at the Gombe State University (GSU).
Prof. Ade Adejumo, ASUU Zonal Coordinator, Ibadan zone, who led a delegation of the Union on a courtesy call on Gov Inuwa Yahaya of Gombe state, stated this, on Wednesday, in Gombe.
Adejumo stated that their visit was to discuss issues facing their members at the state varsity which, he listed to include over taxation, non-payment of allowances and poor funding of infrastructure.
“We have the issue of abnormally high tax regime going on here, the issue of taxation is very clear. There are peculiar allowances that you do not even touch; allowances that are not even enough for our members to carry out their responsibilities as researchers are still being heavily taxed.
“Such that at the end of the day, the take-home pay for our members cannot really take them home,” he said.
He said that though the issues had been presented by the local union to the government, they were yet to receive any feedback, hence the appeal for the government to do the needful.
He also appealed to the state government to improve the condition of service of ASUU members in the state, especially in the area of welfare.
“Accumulated EAA for our members has not been addressed, talks have been going on for years with promises,” he said.
He also called on the state government to also embark on capital projects at GSU, rather than relying “solidly on Tetfund” and other interventions, for the infrastructural needs of the institution.
In his response, Gov Yahaya said he had noted the issues raised, adding that his administration was academia-friendly.
He said he was part of the team that set up the University, being the commissioner of finance at the time, hence he wouldn’t do anything now to destroy what he was part of from inception.
Yahaya said his administration inherited a backlog of ASSU earned allowances, and other outstanding liabilities, and the heavy burden of debt they had to service, stressing that in spite of these, the government had managed to pay ASUU salaries for the last 10 months, while they were on strike, within the limited resources of the state and the COVID – 19 pandemics.
On the issue of tax, he said: “each state has its tax tables, which conforms to the National guideline, there is nothing bad in it. If we are going to evade tax, how could we generate money that we use to do all this, how could you even get any increment.
“On one side you demand less tax which is lesser than the one that the federal ASUU is being charged. And on the other hand, you are demanding for more money; I do not know how we can reconcile this,” he said,
The Governor, however, assured the delegation that his administration would start the implementation of the new minimum wage by the end of January.