IPPIS: FG, ASUU Fail To Reach Agreement

There were indications on Tuesday that the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ resumed negotiation over the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System had again hit a brick wall.

It was on Tuesday gathered that the Federal Government had again rejected a model, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, proposed by ASUU as an alternative to the IPPIS.

The Federal Ministry of Education’s Deputy Director of Press, Mr Ben Goong, in an interview with one of our correspondents, confirmed that the government had started negotiations with ASUU.

He said, “We have opened talks. Whether this matter will be laid to rest does not rest with one party. It does not rest with the ministry or the Federal Government alone. It is only when the two parties agree that the matter can be resolved.”

The Federal Government had last year directed its employees, including university lecturers, to register for the IPPIS, which is a centralised payment system introduced to check fraud.

But ASUU directed its members to shun the directive on the grounds that it negated the principle of university autonomy.

The government threatened not to pay January salaries of lecturers, who failed to register for the IPPIS, but it later backed down on the threat and paid all lecturers including those who failed to register for the IPPIS.

As an alternative to the IPPIS, ASUU had developed the UTAS, which it presented to the Federal Government last year.

But a top official in the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, confided in one of our correspondents that accepting the proposal put forward by ASUU would erode the gains so far made under the IPPIS initiative.

He said that it was too late for the government to start considering ASUU’s proposal because the union’s concerns had already been addressed by the IPPIS.

The official said just like the government did for personnel of the military and other paramilitary agencies, the IPPIS was good enough to accommodate all genuine concerns and peculiarities in universities.

He added that between 2017 and 2019, about N361bn was saved from government payroll through the IPPIS implementation.

He said, “We have captured over 71 per cent and the remaining 29 per cent is not only ASUU members that make up that balance.

“There are some of these university workers that are on study leave outside the country and some of them are on leave of absence.

“The IPPIS is not targeted at ASUU, between 2017 and 2019, the government has saved over N361bn. So any reasonable government will not throw such things into the dustbin.

When asked why the salaries of ASUU members not on the IPPIS were paid in January, the official said that approval for salary stoppage was being awaited from the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed.

Source: Punch

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