On Monday, it was widely reported that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has threatened to stop work in defiance of a Federal Government directive that all its staff enrolled on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
In June, the FG directed that the staff of federal universities must enrol on the IPPIS platform just like the staff of other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
This, according to the government, was to engender accountability and centralise the payroll systems of the federal government.
ASUU claimed enrollment on the system violates the autonomy of universities and doesn’t accommodate the peculiarities and structure of Nigerian universities.
But following the recent announcement by President Muhammadu Buhari that any federal government worker not captured on IPPIS by October 31 would not be paid his monthly salary, ASUU has threatened to go on strike if its staff won’t be paid.
And since the policy is already in place, we decided to check out what the IPPIS is and why it’s of importance to the Nigerian Federal Government.
Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS)
The system is a centralised payroll platform by the Federal Government. It helps the Government plan and manages its payroll budget, ensuring there’s no loophole in the disbursement of pays.
According to the platform’s site, it was instituted in April 2007. And what federal government staff need to do is register on the IPPIS verification portal, a web-based application, which collects their data.
After registering on the platform, they will need to print the documents and proceed to their MDA for submission and biometric enrollment.
Once enrolled, the platform’s data is what is used by the body responsible for payment of salaries and wages directly to the employee’s bank account with the necessary deductions (taxes, insurance and all) made automatically.
According to the Accountant-General of Nigeria, whose purview the platform is under, the system has enrolled over seven hundred thousand FG staff from over 561 MDAs.
This is said to have helped the government save over two hundred billion Naira from managing personnel costs and the discovery of ghost workers. If this is true, one can see why the FG is keen on getting everyone on board.
However, ASUU’s argument has been that the system will not be able to cater to its peculiarities – sabbatical leaves, part-time programmes, staffing of new programmes, visitation, payment of out-sourced services and earned allowances.
It wants to develop its own system, a stand some staff members are not necessarily on the same page with.
The IPPIS system is, however, said to be flexible enough to accommodate all the above peculiarities. It is been used by several other MDAs with no known complaints so far. This would suggest as much.
Hopefully, both parties will find a middle ground which does not lead to another extended academic strike.
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