President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, while featuring on a Channels Television programme on Thursday evening, buttressed opposition of the union to the IPPIS platform owing to constant amputation of salaries of academic staff.
He said members of ASUU now had their salaries cut by between 50 and 70 per cent, such that some professors got N8,000 as salary for some months.
According to Ogunyemi, the IPPIS was a software originally designed for the civil service and did not take care of peculiarities of the university system, like earned academic allowances, research journal and taxation.
He stressed that the flaws of the IPPIS could be seen in the software taxing its allowances and failing to recognise negotiated agreements.
Ogunyemi said the Federal Government was deliberately causing confusion by selectively paying ASUU members in various universities and asking members to first migrate to IPPIS and then come back to its UTAS platform.
Ogunyemi sought understanding of students and parents, noting that it would be difficult for lecturers to return to their universities if they received less than their usual salaries, allowances not paid, while the issue of salary scale where members remained on the same salary structure for many years remained unattended to.
Ogunyemi said: “The issue of amputated salaries came into it because the IPPIS platform was not designed for the university system. The platform does not recognise negotiated agreements like earned academic allowances, research journal, taxation and others.
“Those were areas IPPIS does not factor into account like they gave us a one-line salary scale. In that case, it means they are taxing even allowances which is not the case even with people in the civil service because IPPIS was designed for the civil service.
“The programme was not designed for the university system. This is a software that will set aside the collective bargaining aspect of people’s income. People are losing as much as 50 percent, 70 per cent of their salaries. There were professors that were paid about N8,000 in some months. The IPPIS is not flexible to the peculiarities of the university system.
“We have those who have not been paid any month salary since February till date, we have those where lecturers were paid up to June, then we have lecturers who have not been paid since July. Government picks and chooses.
“Last month, in Uthman Dan Fodio University, 20 lecturers were paid and these are those who did not register on IPPIS. So there is no particular pattern and it appears as if there is deliberate mischief, causing confusion on our various campuses.”
In a related development, the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) continues as the meeting between the Federal Government and the leadership of ASUU held late Wednesday night again ended in a deadlock. The meeting, headed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, could not conclude to resolve the contentious issue of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
A source at the late night meeting told the Nigerian Tribune that all other issues in contention had been resolved and agreed upon save the issue of IPPIS and on which platform to continue paying them before University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), developed locally and proposed by ASUU passed integrity tests. Issues such as the funding for revitalisation of public universities; earned academic allowances; salary shortfall; state of state-owned universities; reconstitution of the government renegotiating team; visitation panels to federal universities and the issue of university pension system have all been resolved.
The meeting is to reconvene next Wednesday. The meeting had earlier been informed that ASUU had met its timeline regarding the first stage of the initial demonstration of the efficacy of UTAS to the government. It had also agreed that if UTAS passes all the different stages of the integrity test which would involve National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of the National Security Advisers (ONSA) and after ascertaining its efficacy, it would be adopted for the payment of university staff.
However, the meeting could not agree on how payment would be done for ASUU members during the transitional period of UTAS tests, even as the Government side again appealed to ASUU to enroll on IPPIS platform in view of the presidential directive that all Federal Government employees should be paid via IPPIS.
The government side appealed to ASUU that its members could thereafter be migrated to UTAS whenever UTAS was certified digitally efficient and effective with accompanying security coverage. But ASUU maintained that given ASUU’s invention of UTAS, it should be exempted from IPPIS in the transition period. Also, on the issue of withheld salaries, the meeting agreed that government would pay the money as soon as the mode of payment was agreed upon by both parties.