Nigeria: Buhari/ASUU Meeting Fails to Resolve IPPIS Impasse

20 January 2020

President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has led a delegation of the union on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja.

However the leadership of the union has remained adamant against government's directive to Ministries, Departments and Agencies to enrol all staff members into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The IPPIS is part of the government's initiative in the fight against corruption in the country.

But ASUU President Prof. Abiodun Ogunyemi noted that some peculiarities and emoluments of the union that were yet to be captured by the IPPIS were hindering its members from enrolling.

In that regard, the union said government should consider its proposed marrying of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) with IPPIS to address the peculiar cases of lecturers in the payment of salaries and other emoluments.

Both parties have refused to shift ground over the capturing of ASUU members into the scheme.

Abiodun said at no point during their meeting with the president did he put a closure to the ongoing discussion on ASUU's preference for the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) or directed that the salaries of ASUU members be stopped for failure to enrol on IPPIS.

He said the union had always argued that IPPIS crisis cannot be resolved without paying due attention to the foundational issues of autonomy and academic freedom, Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs), and sustainable funding of education for the transformation of Nigeria.

According to the ASUU president, some of the issues raised with the president included the union's ongoing innovation of a more robust system of human resource management and compensation, called UTAS, which will address the peculiarities of universities and end inappropriate recruitments in the system.

"There is need for government to declare a five-year state of emergency in the education sector. During this period, at least 6% of the GDP or 26% of the FGN Budget, as well as 26% of each state government budget, should be allocated to education," Mr Ogunyemi said.

Prof Ogunyemi claimed that the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had created the wrong impression that a substantial number of ASUU members had enrolled in IPPIS in defiance of the union.

He said the minister failed to provide the ratio of academic to non-academic staff in her data.

The minister had said out of the 137,016 academic and non-academic staff members of universities 96,090 have been enrolled in the IPPIS and urged ASUU to encourage the remaining 40,926 members to comply with the process.

She said a desk has been opened in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for registration of university staff, assuring that peculiarity of the tertiary institutions will be accommodated.

Ogunyemi said the union discussed six issues regarding the union with the president during their visit at the State House.

He said ASUU made six clear prayers at the meeting with President Buhari which are; the need for appropriate officers to obey universities' laws and abide by collective bargaining agreements.

The second point is that there is a need for the implementation of all outstanding provisions on February 7, 2019, FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action.

Thirdly, the union said there is the need to re-commence and conclude the Re-negotiation of the 2009 FGN/ ASUU Agreement, based on ILO's collective bargaining principles within the six-week timeframe originally set for it

Fourthly, the need for Mr President, as Visitor to the Federal Universities, to constitute and activate Visitation Panels to all Universities and direct that the outcomes be fully implemented.

The fifth point is that government should welcome ASUU's ongoing innovation of a more robust system of human resource management and compensation, called the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), which will address the peculiarities of universities and end inappropriate recruitments in the system.

Finally, the union said the government needs to declare a Five-Year State of Emergency in the Education Sector. During this period, at least 6 per cent of the GDP or 26 percent of the FGN Budget as well as 26% of each state government budget should be allocated to Education during this period.

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