BY Friday Olokor
There were indications on Sunday that the Federal Government might adopt any payment platform developed in universities as an alternative to the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
The spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, who gave this indication in an interview with our correspondent however, gave conditions for adopting any payment platform apart from the IPPIS.
According to him, the platform must be capable of eliminating ghost workers’ syndrome and other forms of corruption in payment of salaries.
Akpan stated this as opposition to the IPPIS grew on Sunday when unions including the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, the Non-Academic Staff Union and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria said it was only suitable for the civil service.
Recall that ASUU had on March 23,begun an indefinite strike over the government’s insistence on the IPPIS, among other reasons.
Other university unions, which initially supported the payment system, backed out on the grounds that it contained many irregularities.
As an alternative to the IPPIS, ASUU had presented its University Transparency and Accountability Solution to the Federal Government. UTAS is currently being tested by the National Information Technology Development Agency, while SSANU and NASU have proposed the University General and Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System.
The President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview with our correspondent restated the union’s opposition to the IPPIS, saying the system would localise the university system if adopted.
He stated, “With the IPPIS, lecturers cannot move freely across campuses; across countries. It is a system that will not allow you to employ people from outside the country, people who are not on pensionable appointments because the IPPIS focuses only on people with pensionable appointments. Contract staff who are needed in scarce areas are shut out. Our colleagues in the Diaspora who could come and give international flavour and enrich our programmes are shut out. If you have a system that will not
allow you to fit into global practices, that system cannot fit into a university.”
He explained further that the IPPIS would erode the autonomy of the university system which was established by an Act in 2003.
Ogunyemi added, “The IPPIS was designed for the civil service, which has a uniform approach to a payroll. In the civil service, they have to take permission from the head of civil service before they can employ. That is not possible in the university education because a university
operates a flexible payroll system by the virtue that lecturers can come for short employment and sabbaticals.”