Tony Akowe, Abuja
The House of Representatives on Thursday wade into the ongoing crisis between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) regarding the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), calling for an amicable resolution of the issue.
This followed a motion of urgent public importance sponsored by Abbas Tajudeen (APC, Kaduna) informing the house of the impending short down of federal universities in the country if the government failed to back down and goes ahead with the implementation of the policy.
He informed the House of a recent Federal Government of Nigeria directive that all MDAs which draw their personnel costs from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation must ensure that all their staff are registered under the Integrated Payroll And Personal Information ‘ System (IPPIS) platform on or before 31th of October 2019 otherwise staff of such defaulting MDAs would not be paid salaries.
According to him, the IPPIS was conceptualised in October 2006 by the Federal Government as one of its reform programme, to improve the effectiveness and efficiency in the storage of personnel records and administration of monthly payroll in such a way to enhance confidence in staff emolument costs and budgeting.
Hon. Tajudeen said that aside from the IPPIS, the Federal Government also introduced the Government Integrated Finance Management Information System (GIFMIS), Treasury Single Account (TSA), the E-collection system and Whistle Blower Policy as part of efforts aimed at reducing corrupt practices in the country.
He emphasised 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) upon the approval of the Federal Executive Council, while the policy was formally introduced to MDAs in April 2007 with 18 MDAs participating.
He stressed that the phase II implementation of the IPPIS policy, which is the service wide implementation of the policy commenced in September 2011 and was financed by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
He said that as at April 2018, 490 MDAS have been enrolled into the IPPIS programme with a total staff trend of over 700,000 employees.
He said that the IPPIS policy has been used as an effective and efficient tool to fight the malaise of ghost workers which before now, appears to have defied all policies and mechanisms put in place of the Public Service of the Federation to curb or eradicate the syndrome.
He said that since the inception Of the IPPIS in 2007 to date, the Federal Government of Nigeria has saved about 12billion naira by eliminating thousands of ghost workers.
He said further that in spite of the several benefits of the IPPIS policy, the implementation of the policy have generated some controversies in some MDAs in the public service of the Federation while the policy has manifested some draw backs which should be addressed.
He disclosed that 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 in Federal Universities and issued a counter directive to all its members not to comply with the directive.
He informed the House of the threat by the union to go on strike if the Federal Government attempt to enforce the implementation of the policy in the FederaI Universities on the grounds that the policy lacks legal backing and will erode the autonomy of the universities.
He expressed concern that if the Federal Government refused to back down on the implementation of the IPPIS policy in the universities as demanded by ASUU, the union may go on another strike which may jeopardise the current peace and stability being enjoyed in our university campuses.
He said that even though the IPPIS is a good policy, it should be reviewed from time to time with a view to strengthening it or addressing any manifested shortcomings in its implementation, but expressed conviction that 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.
The House unanimously resolved to mandate the committees on Finance, Education, and Labour Employment and Productivity to intervene in the conflict with a view to identifying the cause of the conflict, reconciling the worrying parties, and report in 2 weeks’ time.