ASUU opposition to IPPIS, endorsement of corruption –FG
The Federal Government has described the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ opposition to enrolment of its members on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System platform “as an open endorsement of corruption.”
President Muhammadu Buhari had directed that all ministries, departments and agencies of the Federal Government drawing their salary from the Consolidated Revenue Funds should enrol on the IPPIS platform by the end of October 2019.
But ASUU had repeatedly rejected the move by the Federal Government to incorporate its university lecturers’ wage into the IPPIS, saying it negated the university autonomy.
However, the Accountant-General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, on Tuesday accused the lecturers of supporting corruption by rejecting the system.
He said, “ASUU’s opposition to the IPPIS is an open endorsement of corruption in the Nigeria university system as the IPPIS platform will not allow employment of workers at will without compliance with due process on employment.”
Faulting ASUU’s position, Idris stressed that the lecturers, as employees, could not dictate to the Federal Government, their employer on how their salaries should be paid.
He added, “There are established rules and procedures on engagement of contract staff, casual workers, NYSC members, consultancy etc and modalities for their payments. These are not full-time appointment and therefore are not a payroll matter which ASUU hinged their opposition on.
“It is a known practice all over the world that employees are entitled to their salaries as and when due. That notwithstanding, there is nowhere in the world where employees dictate to their employers as to how they should be paid as being done by ASUU.”
Noting that the IPPIS was designed to save cost and wastage in the Federal Government’s personnel cost, Idris expressed regrets that the lecturers were leading a campaign against the IPPIS.
According to him, the Federal Government has saved N273bn from personnel cost between 2017 and 2018.
He said, “The university community, based on their level of knowledge, experience, academic and research, one would have expected the lecturers to be in the forefront of championing any policy that is geared towards accountability and transparency in government expenditure.
“Instead, ASUU is threatening to go to court for an injunction against the IPPIS and government as well as use propaganda to misinform their members and the public and also to denigrate this lofty policy of the Federal Government which has achieved the saving of over N273bn from personnel cost between 2017 and 2018.”
The AGF added that before now, meetings were held with vice chancellors, registrars, bursars, the National Universities Commission and the four university staff unions (NASU, NAAT, SSANU, and ASUU) where the workings of the IPPIS system were explained and demonstrated.
He noted that the IPPIS “accommodates all government-approved peculiarities of tertiary institutions” such as retirement age, sabbatical and visiting lecturers’ allowance.
“The accommodation of their peculiarities was fully demonstrated on our payroll slide to confirm how they will be treated accordingly in the presence of the university stakeholders and all their four unions,” he said.
The accountant-general explained that after the practical demonstration of the workings of the IPPIS to the university stakeholders, “it was only ASUU through its national leadership who questioned the legality of the IPPIS and Federal Government to pay salary directly to their members in the face of their autonomy.”
However, he pointed out that other university staff unions accepted to join the IPPIS with a promise to ensure that all their members got enrolled into the platform.
He explained that the unions had been working assiduously to fulfil the pledge.
“Despite the practical demonstration, ASUU has continued to mislead their members and the public for any other reason best known to them alone,” the AGF noted.
He urged all university workers to ensure they enrolled on the IPPIS platform in order to meet the deadline set by the Federal Government.
Written by: Ihuoma Chiedozie, Abuja, Punch Newspapers