By John Onah, Abuja
Indication emerged yesterday that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)has drawn yet another battle line with the Federal Government over the decision of the later to stop the salaries of university teachers
The Federal Government directed that salaries of any university worker, not enrolled on the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), be stopped with effect from November 2020, but the union, currently on strike, said they were not affected by President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive.
The President had recently, at a joint session of National Assembly, vowed to stop salaries of lecturers not enrolled on the IPPIS, thus the directive a memo from the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF) with reference number OAGF/IPPIS/446/1/159 and dated October 8, 2020 and signed by Director, IPPIS, Nsikak Ben for the AGF, enforced the threat.
Addressed to vice-chancellors through the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigeria, CVCN of Federal Universities, its stated: “I am directed to inform you that any staff of your institution who has not enrolled on the IPPIS, either as a result of study leave (with pay), maternity leave or on medical ground, will no longer appear on the IPPIS payroll.
“This is with effect from November 2020, except such staff presents himself/herself for the biometric data capture at the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Abuja,” the memo read in part.
“Such employees would have to appear with an introductory letter/IPPIS enrolment forms duly endorsed by the principal authorities of the institution and evidence of six months’ salary, according to bank statements.
We Are Not Affected – Ogunyemi
The leadership of the striking university teachers has said that their members were not affected by President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive on salary payment through Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
ASUU President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, while reacting to the President’s directive, said that the workers referred to were civil servants and ASUU members are academic staff in the university system.
“The directive was meant for civil servants; university academics are not civil servants. We have an understanding with government to develop an alternative platform which would be sensitive to the operations of the university and accommodate its peculiarities.
“The platform we are developing will also respect the autonomy of our universities as obtained globally. The idea of seeking clearance from the Head of Service or the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation is alien to university operations because it will halt its flexibility.
“The University Miscellaneous (Provisions) (Amendment)Act (2003), which government gazetted as University Autonomy Act (2007), has vested the powers of personnel and payroll system issues in the hands of each university’s governing council,” he claimed.
He added that ASUU, on January 9, 2019 reached an understanding with Mr. President to develop its proposed University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), for testing and adoption for managing personnel information and payroll system in the universities.
“We have since done that and presented to the Ministry of Education. What is left is to present to other major stakeholders, particularly in the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
“The development of UTAS was done at no cost to government. We used contributions from the check-off deductions of ASUU members to finance the project and this cost us millions of naira”, Ogunyemi said.