Nigeria: Reps Wade Into Govt/ASUU Face-Off - IPPIS

Academic Staff Union of Universities logo
28 November 2019

The House of Representatives has mandated three of its committees to intervene in the conflict between the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the implementation of Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) policy.

President Muhammadu Buhari recently issued a directive for the implementation of the IPPIS for the payment of salaries of all federal government workers.

The president said any worker not on the platform will not receive a salary after October 31.

The federal government and ASUU have disagreed over the new directive.

Nigerian federal university workers said they would automatically go on strike if the government carries out its threat to withhold their salary for refusing to enrol in the new payment system.

The motion in the House of Representatives was moved during plenary on Thursday by Tajudeen Abass (APC-Kaduna).

The House committees on Finance, Education, Labour Employment and Productivity are to intervene in the face-off with a view to identifying the cause and reconcile the warring parties.

Moving the motion, Mr Abass said that the federal government recently directed all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) that draw their personnel costs from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation to register all staff on the IPPIS platform.

He said that the directive stated that the registration must be done on or before October 31 as defaulting MDAs would not be paid salaries.

Mr Abass recalled that the IPPIS was conceptualised in October 2006 by the federal government as one of its reform programmes to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the storage of personnel records.

The lawmaker said IPPIS also ensures administration of monthly payroll in such a way to enhance confidence in staff emolument costs and budgeting.

He said apart from the IPPIS, the federal government, desirous of reducing corrupt practices in the country, introduced, among others, the Government Integrated Finance Management Information System (GIFMIS), Treasury Single Account (TSA), the E-collection system and Whistle Blower Policy.

He said that the pilot phase of the implementation of the IPPIS policy, which was financed by the World Bank, commenced in 2006 at the Bureau of Public Service Reform (BPSR).

He said that upon the approval of the Federal Executive Council, the policy was formally introduced to MDAs in April 2007 with 18 MDAs participating.

The lawmaker said as at April 2018, 490 MDAs had been enrolled in the IPPIS with over 700,000 employees.

He said the IPPIS policy has been used, among others, as an effective and efficient tool to fight the malaise of ghost workers which before now appeared to have defied all policies and mechanisms put in place in the public service.

He said since the inception of the IPPIS policy in 2007, the federal government had saved about N12 billion by eliminating thousands of ghost workers.

"In spite of the several benefits of the IPPIS policy, the implementation of the policy has generated some controversies in some MDAs in the public service and has manifested some drawbacks which should be addressed.

"The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in reaction to the new Federal Government directives on the implementation of IPPIS is not only objecting to the application of the policy to the Federal Universities but has Issued a counter directive to all its members not to comply with the directive," he said.

Mr Abass said that ASUU threatened to go on strike if the federal government attempts to enforce the implementation of the policy in federal universities on the grounds that the policy lacks legal backing and derogates from the autonomy of the universities.

The lawmaker said that if the federal government refused to back down on the implementation of the IPPIS policy in the universities as demanded by ASUU, they may go on another strike.

He said going on strike may jeopardise the current peace and stability being enjoyed on university campuses.

"If this issue is not properly handled, the academic unions in the polytechnics and Colleges of Education may decide to toe the same line with their university counterparts.

"Even though the IPPIS is a good policy, just like any other policy it should be reviewed from time to time with a view to strengthening it or addressing any manifested shortcomings in its implementation.

"Whatever are the differences between the federal government and ASUU on the implementation of the IPPIS policy in the universities, the matter should not be allowed to degenerate to another strike in our universities," he said.

In his ruling, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila mandated the committees to report back with two weeks for further legislative action.

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