CLAIM: On Tuesday 16th November 2021, in an interview on Channels Television’s Morning Show, Sunrise Daily, the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Lagos State Chapter, Dr Dele Ashiru, claimed that there is no professor in Nigeria that earns above 416,000 Naira as monthly salary.
He said this while advocating for a better welfare package for the nation’s academics. Meanwhile, the Lagos ASUU Boss had previously appeared on the National Television (TVC), giving a slightly different figure as the take-home of the university lecturers. In the earlier interview, aired on the Television Continental (TVC), the comrade claimed that the highest paid Professor in the Nigerian universities collects N450,000 monthly before the Federal Government introduced the IPPIS Policy.
Ashiru’s advocacy has attracted substantial attention and had necessitated the check into how much these respected teachers actually earn in this fact-check.
FACT-CHECK PROCESS: The topic under review prompted the Centre for Democracy and Development’s Fact-checkers to conduct an extensive research, data analysis, and interviews of academics in an attempt to establish the truth and accurate earnings of the Nigerian public institution academics.
To start with, there are over 11,000 professors across over one hundred government and private tertiary institutions of learning across the country. Though there is a structured earning system in place, but the take-home largely depended on the qualification, experience, and the institution the practitioners’ work.
The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), established by Act 99 of 1993, is the agency of government that is saddled with all matters relating to wages and salaries of workers in the public sector. And as part of measures to implement its mandate, the commission engaged in a number of activities in the year 2007, including the review of salaries in the public sector; survey of jobs in the Federal Public Service; Price Movement Survey of the National Economy; and Development of Databank on wages, incomes and prices among others.
The outcome of the exercise prompted the Commission, through its Acting Chairman, Ekpo Nta, Esq. on November 14, 2019, to issue a circular titled “Implementation of the New National Minimum Wage in the Federal Public Service: The Consolidated University Academic Staff Salary Structure II (CONUASS II).”
The document contained a communication of the Government’s approval for the revision of the Consolidated University Academic Staff Salary Structure II (CONUASS II), which was integrated into the IPPIS structure.
The breakdown of the IPPIS salary payments, based on the new minimum wage consequential adjustment, which became effective from April 2019, shows that a Nigerian professor earns a gross annual salary of N5,073,220. When broken into a sizable component, the earning amounts to N422,768 per month, contrary to Ashiru’s claim. Meanwhile, after the statutory deductions, which range between 5% and 19%, a Nigerian Professor is then left with a monthly take home of N342,442.
Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) is a World Bank-supported Public Service Reform programme, introduced in 2006 by the Federal Government, as part of measures to block all fiscal leakages by centralising the allocation and payment of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government (MDAs) on a single payment platform. The IPPIS unit is domiciled under the office of the Accountant General of the Federation.
There are 696 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the IPPIS Platform as of June 2020. The platform is responsible for processing the payment of salaries of over one million (1,139,633) Federal Government Employees across the 696 MDAs. IPPIS’ aim is to enrol into the platform, all Federal Government MDAs that draw personnel cost funds from Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Since the introduction of the IPPIS platform, the government has been paying the enrolled civil servants via the platform, with the implementation of all the statutory deductions. The deductions are Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) tax, State Boards of Internal Revenue (BIR) tax, National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), National Housing Fund (NHF), Pension and Fund Administrator (PFA), Cooperative Societies, Trade Unions Dues, Association Dues, and or Bank Loans.
CONUASS is the acronym for Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure. It is the preferred salary structure for all academic staff members in all federal government universities. The items consolidated with the basic salary are transport allowance, meal subsidy, utility allowance, leave grant, journal allowance, research allowance, learned society allowance, examination supervision allowance, excess workload allowance, furniture allowance, industrial supervision allowance, field trip allowance, postgraduate studies allowance, responsibility allowances as well as domestic servant allowance and driver’s allowance (for entitled officers). This salary structure was implanted in 2010 and it is still in use.
It should be noted that the calculations based on the first table is applicable to Professors who are on Grade Level 07, Step 01. For a professor who has attained Step 10 of the same Grade Level 07, his/her entitlement amounts to N6,664,214 per annum, which when broken down gives N555,351 monthly before taxes. If 19% of the amount is deducted as taxes, the Professor will take N449,835 home at the end of each month as seen in the figure;
Additionally, the salary levels can vary considerably for university professors, depending on a variety of factors, such as their personal qualifications, academic qualification, administrative responsibilities, and the specific faculty and university they work for.
Professors also earn money from their sabbatical leave which enables them to do per time contract jobs with other universities.
A professorship position in Nigeria requires over 15 years of teaching experience and research experience in a Nigerian University. It is the most respected cadre of the lecturing career in the country. It is from this position that heads of universities are selected or appointed.
In corroborating CDD Fact-checkers’ findings, reputable and high-ranking academics within the university system who were contacted to air their views on the development affirmed that Professors in Nigeria earn between N550,000 and N700,000, though some of them agreed that the reason for the low take-home pay at the end of the month, stems from arbitrary deductions in the IPPIS platform.
“The young man is definitely wrong on the generalisation of the take home. But his message was correct and well-intentioned. There is the need to remove the obstacle of multiple deductions as being experienced on the IPPIS platform,” a popular academic scholar who doesn’t want his name in print told CDD Fact-checkers.
In a related document, Dr. Oludayo Tade, a Doctor of Philosophy from the Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, published an unrefuted article in the Vanguard Newspaper edition of August 28, 2021 titled, “ ‘Greedy’ Nigerian professors and their fat salaries.”
He enumerated the salaries of the Nigerian lecturers by cadre as follows:
BEFORE STATUTORY DEDUCTIONS
• Assistant Lecturer (N118,277 – N137,334);
• Lecturer II with a doctorate degree (N129,724 – N153,563);
• Lecturer I with at least three years post-PhD experience on the job (N160,809 – N203,778);
• Senior Lecturer with at least six years experience on the job (N222,229 – N314,159);
• Associate Professor with at least nine years experience on the job (N277,179 – N350,169)
• Full Professor with twelve and more years experience on the job (N332,833 – N416,743).
AFTER STATUTORY DEDUCTIONS
• Full Professor is entitled to N437,499 and N332,833 after deductions .
• A Professor “at the bar”, one who has spent ten years as a professor, is entitled to the consolidated pay of N555,351 per month. Following deductions, a Professor-at-the-bar net pay comes down to N416,743 monthly, the writer claimed.
His findings were consistent with the revelations from the payment schedules of some Nigerian Universities, with particular reference to the Ladoke Akintola University (LAUTECH), as displayed on its website.
ACADEMICS’ EARNINGS IN OTHER AFRICA COUNTRIES
• An Assistant Lecturer in the public universities earns $1,631;
• Senior Lecturer earns $2,432
• Associate Professor takes home $3,891
• Professor smiles to the bank with $4,054 per month
• A Junior Lecturer earns N10,453,326 – N17,427,663;
• Lecturer, N12,547,744 – N20,910,248;
• Senior Lecturer, N16,272,983 – N27,891,819;
• Associate Professor, N20,224,232 – N32,564,902
• Professor, N22,325,844 – N37,209,741 per annum.
CONCLUSION: Subject to verifiable data, CDD Fact-checkers can authoritatively report that Nigerian academics are indeed earning below their peers in the continent. The findings validated the admonition for more payment by the Lagos State Chairman of ASUU, Ashiru, but our investigations also invalidated his claim that no Nigerian Professor earns above N416,000 monthly, as records show clearly otherwise.
BANKOLE S. ADESHINA
CENTRE FOR DEMOCRACY AND DEVELOPMENT
+2348080862208 (TEXT ONLY)