Labour minister Chris Ngige made this known after a meeting with executives of ASUU on Wednesday 23 November 2016.
According to Ngige:
"If we are in a recession and you are asking us to pay you N284 billion, nobody will pay it because the money is not there.
"The federal government has, however, offered to provide some money for the allowances pending when we finish auditing of the first tranche of money that has been given to them in that same area of earned allowances.
"That tranche of money that they collected is being audited, but the auditing process is very slow, because some people for some strange reasons are not allowing auditing to take place.
"So a time frame has been fixed of six months within which the auditing will be done. So both parties have gone back to their principals.
"ASUU has a principal which is the national executive body and government has come back to look at our finances viz a viz with the National Assembly which will appropriate that particular fund.
"Because for 2016 there is nothing in the budget for it. It will be done and appropriated as at when due.
"Next week, they (ASUU) will come back with their counter proposal."