All university lecturers were paid their December salaries because the Federal Government had not completed the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System in the institutions, The PUNCH learnt on Thursday.
A top government official, who confided in The PUNCH, said the idea behind the IPPIS was to ensure a centralised salary payment system for all government workers, including the lecturers.
He explained that from all indications, the process for the enrolment of university workers had yet to be concluded, adding that it would be counterproductive to delay their salaries at this festive season.
The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had, during the 2020 budget presentation at the National Assembly on October 8, directed all government workers to register for the IPPIS.
He had explained that those who failed to register for the scheme should not be paid, but the Academic Staff Union of Universities stated that the IPPIS negated the autonomy of universities.
But the office of the Account General of the Federation, which sent IPPIS officers to universities between November 25 and December 7, said all Federal Government agencies should enrol for the scheme.
It said those who failed to register would not be paid their December salaries. ASUU, in a counter-move, directed its members to shun the scheme.
The Deputy Director of Press in the Office of the AGF, Mr Henshaw Ogubike, could not be reached to explain why the lecturers, who did not register, were paid their December salaries. Calls made to his telephone did not connect while a text message sent to him had yet to be responded to.
But a source in the ministry of finance said while data had been gathered from over 95,000 university workers, there were still other processes that would be carried out before they would be integrated into the payroll platform.
He said, “You will recall that one of the objectives of the IPPIS is to have everyone on the centralised salary payment platform. What we are doing in the universities now is to bring them on board the IPPIS. Don’t forget that before now, they have a system used in paying their salaries which is based on their own personal budget.
“The process of bringing them on board the IPPIS is what we are doing now and you don’t expect salaries to be stopped at this festive period when we have yet to fully integrate them into the IPPIS.”
Govt should name one country where varsities joined IPPIS – ASUU
ASUU, on Thursday, confirmed that its members had collected their December salaries. It challenged the Federal Government to name any country where universities and their workers were migrated to a central payment platform.
ASUU National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Thursday, confirmed the payment.
He noted that there was no circular from the Federal Government to stop the salaries of lecturers. “It is true that our members have been paid,” he said.
In an interview on Channels Television on Thursday, monitored by one of our correspondents, Ogunyemi said the union hoped to seek an audience with the government as it would not stop opposing the IPPIS.
He said, “Our own model, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, will address all the issues raised by the government. There is no reason for the government to stop our salaries. We are not in a storm with the government.
“All along, our argument is convincing and it is that there is nowhere in the world where the universities and their workers are brought into the core civil service.
“So, the government cannot design a platform that will shut the door against those lecturers coming from other parts and world. We cannot localise Nigerian universities. If the government is convinced, we are ready to meet them and explain the new system we designed.”