What do you know about the chief cause of ASUU Strike, IPPIS?

Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information system (IPPIS) which has been a bone of contention for decades now, and also serves as an impetus to students’ resumption on campus due to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) agitations over poor funding of Universities and the controversy surrounding their payment sysytem.IPPIS was conceptualized in October 2006 by the Federal Government as one of its Reform Programme, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the storage of personnel records and administration of monthly payroll in such a way to enhance confidence in staff emolument costs and budgeting.

While the essence of the IPPIS Secretariat, under the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, is a department responsible for payment of salaries and wages directly to Government employee’s bank account with appropriate deductions and remittances of 3rd party payments such as; Federal Inland Revenue Service, State Boards of Internal Revenue, National Health Insurance Scheme, National Housing Fund, Pension Fund Administrator, Cooperative Societies, Trade Unions Dues, Association Dues and Bank Loans.

Since the inception of the IPPIS project in April 2007, the department have saved the Federal Government billions of Naira by eliminating thousands of ghost workers and covers payment of Federal Government employees on-time and accurately within statutory and contractual obligations.

Apparently, figures revealed that the government saved 160 billion naira by weeding out 60.000 ghost workers from the payroll. This number excludes the 46,821 ghost workers identified in 215 ministries, department and agencies in 2013. The staff audit exercise conducted in federal capital territory in 2013 showed that out of 26,017 on the payroll, 6,000 were fictitious. This monumental corruption, theft and financial irregularities cost government over 160 billion in which could have been eliminated if the electronic payroll system (like IPPIS) is fully implemented in the public service.

Let it be known today that ASUU is not the only union who operates under this payroll system as there are currently about 459 MDAS (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) on the IPPIS platform. It processes and pays the salaries of over three hundred thousand (300,000) federal government employees across the 459 MDAs.

The brouhaha behind this scheme started in October 2019 when President Buhari vowed that any federal employee not captured on the IPPIS of which ASUU members and all federal university lecturers belong in the bracket of individuals on the federal government payroll should forget receiving a monthly salary. He added that “all agencies must obtain the necessary approvals before embarking on any fresh recruitment and any contraventions of these directives shall attract severe sanctions,”

In lieu of this, ASUU remains adamant on their stance and have described the Federal Government enforcement of the IPPIS as an infringement on its autonomy and a menace to national security.

Meanwhile, ASUU have proven that the system does not capture the remuneration of staff on sabbatical, external examiners, external assessors, and Earned Academic Allowances. Also, it does not address the movement of staff as in the case of visiting, adjunct, part-time, consultancy service, which academics offer across universities in Nigeria as the promotion exercise in the Professional Cadre, which is subject to external assessment that may last for several months; in such cases, when the outcome of the exercise is returned positive, the beneficiary is paid arrears from the beginning of the assessment process, but this cannot be captured by IPPIS.

More so, the Federal Ministry of Finance observed that the implementation of IPPIS has enhanced efficient personnel cost, planning and budgeting as personnel cost was based on actual verified values, and not estimates. This has broadened employment opportunities, reduces corruption in the public service and reduced personnel costs.

In addition, the implementation of IPPIS has enhanced the confidence in payroll costs and budgeting, improved management reporting and information, rebuilding public confidence provide opportunities for an improved infrastructural facilities, create conducive work atmosphere and job security.

Ultimately, the introduction of the IPPIS is in no doubt will help check the abnormally and regularize the payment of employees entitlement. This also will help reduce the unrest and regular industrial action in the civil service.

In response to this, ASUU has vowed not to allow her members enroll in the payment system as they have a better software, the multimillion Naira UTAS, which can adequately replace IPPIS as a better payment system for her members.

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