The federal government has suspended the release of the funds for the payment of salaries of workers of tertiary institutions who have not enrolled on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) as their salaries will be paid on the IPPIS platform with effect from January.
In a letter by the Director of IPPIS at the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), Mr. Olusegun Olufehinti, the OAGF requested the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, to order the stoppage of release of funds for January salaries of the federal universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
THISDAY yesterday obtained a copy of the letter dated January 21, 2020.
The letter with reference number: OAGF/IPPIS/19/11/54 and entitled: "Request for Stoppage of Release of Funds for January Salaries to Federal Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education," was addressed to the minister.
"I am directed to inform you that the preparation of January 2020 salary payroll and warrants of the federal tertiary institutions are ongoing and will be ready for submission on or before January 29, 2020. This is to give effect to the directive of the federal government that all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) drawing personal cost for the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) should be enrolled on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
"In order to actualise this directive, you are please requested not to release funds for payments of the tertiary institutions as their salaries will henceforth be paid on the IPPIS Platform with effect from January 2020," part of the letter read.
Efforts by THISDAY to reach Olufehinti for his comment on this latest directive proved abortive as he did not respond to phone calls.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has consistently kicked against enrollment in IPPIS, saying the central payroll system violates university autonomy.
But at a recent meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the president had urged the university lecturers to enroll in the scheme and support his efforts to fight corruption.
The federal government also stated at the meeting that up to 70 per cent of university lecturers had enrolled in the system, an indication of its acceptance by the majority of the teachers.
A government team, which had the Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu; Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, participated at the meeting.
But in their response on the outcome of the meeting, ASUU had said Buhari did not put a closure to the ongoing discussion on the union's preference for the University Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS), it conceived, against the government-backed IPPIS.
National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, had said in a statement that Buhari did not also direct that the salaries of ASUU members be stopped for failure to enroll in IPPIS.
Ogunyemi had added that Buhari agreed with ASUU that the university education holds the key to the future of the country, adding that the president noted with interest that the Minister of Education had a lot of work to do and handed over the union's position paper to the minister.
Ogunyemi denied reports that the meeting was all about IPPIS, adding that the meeting was conceived on the broad context of education and national development with the Triple Helix principles as established in China, Singapore, Malaysia and other emerging economic powers.