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IPPIS: Only President Buhari’s intervention may end ASUU strike – Source  

Umah Muhammed
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The lingering face-off between the Federal Government and the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU), may only be resolved by the intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari if the 8-month old strike embarked upon by the university teachers would be called off.

A source in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, said this on Thursday after the meeting between the Government negotiating team led by Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige and ASUU led by its President Biodun Ogunyemi, again failed to yield positive results on Wednesday, October 28 over the disputed Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

Although the government in their last meeting on Thursday, October 15 offered N20 billion funding for the revitalization of public universities and another commitment of N30 billion for Earned Academic Allowances(EAA) for ASUU, the university union has hardened their position against the use of IPPIS to pay its members, stressing that imposition of the IPPIS on its members, will erode the autonomy of the university system.

ASUU had maintained that the University Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS), has been developed by the universities to pay their staff and therefore argued that it should be exempted from IPPIS.

The source told BusinessDay that the government team insisted that since the UTAS has not been adopted, the Government can only pay through the IPPIS, while also rejecting ASUU’s proposal to use the Government Integrated Financial and Management Information System (GIFMIS), which the Government said has been dismantled and cannot be used again.

According to the source, ASUU said ” it is either the Government pay us through the GIFMIS or they wait for our UTAS to be ready but we will not register under IPPIS.”

The source said further that this face-off is because of the statement by President Muhammadu Buhari that all civil servants must be paid through the IPPIS.

“So, if the decision must change only the President himself can change it,” the source added.

So far, ASUU is said to have met its timeline regarding the first stage of the initial demonstration of the efficacy of the UTAS to Government as this was done on Wednesday, 14th October 2020.

Both sides had agreed in previous meetings that if UTAS passes all the different stages of the integrity test which would involve the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Office of the National Security Advisers (NSA) and after ascertaining its efficacy; it would be adopted for the payment of the University staff.

However, both sides have not agreed on how payment would be done for ASUU members during the transitional period of UTAS tests as the Government side again appealed to ASUU to enrol on IPPIS platform in view of the Presidential directive that all Federal Government employees should be paid via IPPIS.

The Government also appealed that ASUU can thereafter be migrated to UTAS whenever certified digitally efficient and effective with accompanying security coverage. ASUU however, maintained that given its invention of UTAS, it should be exempted from IPPIS in the transition period.


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